standing Westerly Police Department Cruiser

WESTERLY — The Westerly High School dean of students is facing one count of leaving the scene of a crash after the police said he struck a bicyclist near the intersection of Winnapaug Road and Airport Road before leaving his wife at the scene and driving away.

Westerly police charged 53-year-old Christopher Luppe, of 13 Bridgette Lane, was charged Saturday night with failure to stop at an accident resulting in damage to person or property. He was later released pending an appearance at a future date for formal arraignment in Fourth Division District Court.

Police Chief Shawn Lacey said the charge was a result of circumstances surrounding the accident investigation.

According to police, an unidentified 57-year-old Westerly man was on his bicycle driving home around 9:45 p.m. following work. He had turned from Watch Hill Road onto Winnapaug Road and was driving around the curve near Airport Road when the collision occurred.

The police said a 2014 Toyota RAV4 driven by Luppe was heading in the same direction, preparing to turn left onto Airport Road, when the front passenger side of the car struck the bicyclist, throwing him from the bike.

The man suffered injuries that were not life threatening, the police said, but was taken to Rhode Island Hospital as a result of damage to his jaw. No injuries were reported to Luppe or his family.

The police said an investigation determined that Luppe left his wife at the accident scene and drove home with the couple’s two children. The police said when officers went to the home after learning this from the wife, however, he was not there.

Lacey said an officer called Luppe and he agreed to come to the station. Luppe was charged as a result, Lacey said.

School officials said they were aware of the incident but could not discuss the matter further.

“While we are aware of the accident, it is solely a police matter at this time,” Superintendent of Schools Mark Garceau said in an email statement Wednesday.

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