A woman with a long-term feud with her neighbors hit the couple with her car, killing the man, New Hampshire, police said Thursday.
Sixty-four-year-old Stephen VanDalinda, and his 61-year-old wife, Erin, were hit Wednesday night in Seabrook, a town of about 9,000 near the Massachusetts border. Erin is admitted to the hospital with serious injuries.
Authorities said Catrina Costello, 38, was driving drunk when she hit the couple and then left the scene. She is facing nine charges, including felony assault. She was due to be arraigned Thursday afternoon. A phone number for her couldn’t be found.
Neighbors said the VanDalindas had growing fear of Costello over its repeated threats against them. Things had gotten so bad, neighbors said, the VanDalindas their house in the sale and were planning to move in October.
The two families lived next store to another for at least five years.
William Powers, a neighbor who knew the couple, said he feared the hit-and-run was deliberate.
“I was shocked. I couldn’t believe it,” he said.
Seabrook Town Selectman and State Rep. Aboul Khan, who lived across the street from the VanDalindas, said that he believes that the dispute may have started a conflict about the property line. He recalled one incident in which Costello confronted Stephen VanDalinda as he was mowing the lawn, and then one of her pit bulls attacked him.
Still, he found it difficult to understand how things had reached this point, and one of his good friends was now dead.
“I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “I don’t know whether it was intentional or not. It does not make any sense.”
Last year, a court in Seabrook issued a protective order in which Costello was the intention to keep away from It VanDalinda for a year. In the document reviewed by The Associated Press, Erin VanDalinda alleged she was threatened by Costello four times over a period of five months in 2017 and that Costello had trespassed on their property.
They also claimed that one of Costello’s pit bulls had mauled her dog, and little Stephen VanDalinda on the arm.
Neighbors said the VanDalindas were known and would often chat with the neighbors on their walks with their dog, Lucy, whose condition is still unknown.
“They are just great people, great friends,” said Marilyn Johnston, who lives three houses away from the couple and recalled a recent dinner in which the VanDalindas expressed excitement about moving into their new home in a rural New Hampshire town. “We are devastated. This is the safest, nicest area that I have every lived. It is just so sad.”