Couple Married 46 Years Struck in Deadly Hit and Run in Hamden

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HAMDEN --The search is on for a  a hit-and-run driver who killed a Hamden woman and injured her husband on Thursday night on Dixwell Avenue.

Police say Emilio Gonzalez, 67, and his wife Doris, 67, were crossing the street headed back to their Hillcrest Avenue home from a package store on the corner of Dixwell Ave and Haig Street. The accident happened one block from the couple's home on Hillcrest Avenue.

Doris Gonzalez was transported to Yale-New Haven Hospital where she was pronounced dead. Emilio was also taken to Yale-New Haven, where he was treated for minor injuries and released.

Doris Emilio at church

Doris Emilio at church

An autopsy released Friday revealed Gonzalez died of blunt force trauma.

Hamden Police are now on the look-out for the hit-and-run driver, and released a description of the vehicle they believe was involved. Police are describing the missing car as a dark colored Saturn sedan that will have its right passenger mirror missing and damage to the windshield and front end on the right side.

Police are also looking for outdoor surveillance footage that may have captured the accident.

"Quite a few businesses that have video of Dixwell Avenue, specifically of that area.  We are reviewing that currently," said Hamden Police Captain Ronald Smith.

The couple was seen minutes before the accident at the ALK Wine& Liquor Store.

"They bought a bottle of wine. They always do, they always come here. They're a nice couple," said store manager Ankay Patel.

Security from the store provided to Fox CT shows the couple making that purchase. Patel says the couple left and then he heard the aftermath of the hit and run.

"I heard the noise of the guy, like he was calling someone for help, he was in pain," said Patel.

Fox CT spoke with the couple's son and daughter at their home Friday. They say the couple recently celebrated their 46th wedding anniversary. They met as teens growing up in Norwalk and have lived in Hamden for some time.

Doris Gonzalez leaves behind two children, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

"My mother passed away for no reason. She got ran over like she was an animal and the car kept on going," said Emile Gonzalez, the son of Doris Gonzalez.

Doris and Emilio Gonzalez were often known by many as a "team" to those around Hamden and New Haven. The couple spent years both working at the Coviden plant, formerly U.S. Surgical, in North Haven.

Doris also helped Emilio with his duties as deacon at Saint Rose of Lima Catholic Parish in New Haven.  Father James Manship says Doris was very involved with the church and helping families in the community. "This is a tremendous loss for us, it's unimaginable." said Manship.

"She was God-fearing woman, involved in church, taught us right from wrong. She would give her shirt of her back to anybody," said Emile.

The family says Emilio suffered minor injuries from the accident, including an injury to his leg.

Emile Gonzalez says his father told him he held onto Doris as hard as he could as they crossed the street.

"He keeps saying that because the impact of the car it pushed him out of the way and that saved his life.  He keeps reading that," said Emile.

Hamden Police say the speed limit on that stretch of Dixwell Avenue is 30 mph.

Captain Smith says the department has conducted speed enforcement operations on Dixwell Avenue, such as setting up speed trailers, but says it continues to be a "problematic area."

"We have vigilantly patrolled the Dixwell Avenue in an attempt to stop speeders," said Smith.

The Gonzalez family is pleading for anyone with information to come forward. "We need answers please just come forward. We need answers, we need to know, we need closure," said Magali Gonzalez, daughter of Doris and Emilio Gonzalez.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the Hamden Police Department at (203) 230-4036.

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