BELMONT, MASS. (WHDH) – A man who hurled racial slurs before he fatally struck and dragged another man with a pickup truck during an apparent road rage incident in Belmont on Tuesday has been ordered held without bail, officials said.
Dean Kapsalis, 54, of Hudson, was arraigned Wednesday in Cambridge District Court on charges including assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, a civil rights violation causing injury, and leaving the scene of an accident causing personal injury in connection with the death of Henry Tapia, 35, of Boston, according to Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan and Belmont Police Chief James MacIsaac.
“We cannot and will not tolerate behavior that is rooted in racial bias and meant to discriminate,” Ryan said during a news conference.
Officers responding to a report of a person who had been struck by a car in the area of Upland Road around 4:20 p.m. found Tapia suffering from life-threatening injuries, Ryan and MacIsaac said.
Tapia was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital, where he later died.
An investigation revealed that Kapsalis and Tapia were engaged in verbal altercation in the roadway when Kapsalis began yelling racial slurs at the victim, a Black man, according to officials.
Witnesses reportedly told investigators that they heard the two men arguing before Tapia began to walk back to his vehicle. At that time, Kapsalis allegedly drove his red Dodge Dakota at Tapia, striking him with the driver’s side of his vehicle and dragging him a short distance before fleeing the scene.
“I just heard a screech and a thud, and my daughter screaming,” local resident Brian Dawe recalled. “I looked out the window and I saw my daughter and my son-in-law trying to help this man who was lying on the ground.”
While on the ground, Tapia could be heard screaming, “I can’t breathe” and “I’m going to die,” court documents indicated.
Kapsalis is said to have surrendered to police about 30 minutes after the alleged incident.
He is due back in court for a dangerousness hearing on Jan. 25.
State troopers assigned to Ryan’s office are assisting Belmont police with an investigation.
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