Missing dog found safe after fatal hit-and-run of Vernon father; police investigation continues


VERNON, Conn. (WTNH) — A puppy that went missing after the fatal hit-and-run of a father and soccer coach Tuesday night in Vernon has been safely recovered.

The incident happened on Phoenix Street between Lake and Church Streets.

Just before 3 p.m., police said 44-year-old Andrew Aggarwala was walking his puppy, Ollie, near his home when he was hit by a car. Police said his dog took off, as did the driver who hit him.

Responding officials said they found Aggarwala, a father-of-two, in cardiac arrest on the side of the road. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Lt. William Meier tells News 8 that a team of officers is spending the Thanksgiving holiday processing everything gathered up to this point. He says they are analyzing evidence, going through interviews and surveillance video, and doing paperwork.

Police are still asking for any additional surveillance video from homes on Phoenix Street, Church Street, Warren Avenue, Washington Street, Birch Street, Lake Street, Taylor Street, and any others in the near neighborhood. They are particularly interested in video from 2:45 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Tuesday.

Wednesday, only News 8 cameras were rolling as investigators surrounded a car in connection to the deadly hit and run.

Vernon police reported they have seized a vehicle-of-interest at a checkpoint that was located on Phoenix Street very close to the incident. The vehicle was draped with a tarp to preserve any evidence on the windshield or the body of the car and towed away.

They said there was a driver in the vehicle at the time of the seizure, but they do not have anyone in custody at this time.

Animal control officers worked to locate Ollie: “The Vernon Police Department drone unit returned to the scene Wednesday afternoon and spent several hours searching for the missing puppy…” Lt. Meier added.

On Saturday, November 28, Vernon police released a statement saying that Ollie had been found on Brighton Lane — less than a mile away from the scene of the fatal accident — and returned to family members.

“There was a large community response in searching for Ollie. Police have been in touch with the family who has expressed their deepest gratitude to all those involved in locating Ollie,” the statement read.

Aggarwala was well-known in the Vernon community for his volunteer work as a youth sports coach. He led the Vernon Soccer Club and was active with other youth sports organizations.

“The Vernon Soccer Club offers its heartfelt condolences to Andrew Aggarwala’s family,” Club President Keith Hodson said. “Andrew was well-loved among our club and will be missed. Andrew was a dedicated board member, coach, and friend to all who knew him. He was recognized with multiple awards for his volunteerism and community involvement. Andrew was to be the recipient of our 2020 Volunteer of the Year for his dedication to the Town of Vernon and its youth. Our hearts break for his wife, kids, and the entire family. Each of us who knew Andrew was truly blessed by his kind, warm, and genuine personality.”

He goes on to say, “We are heartbroken for everyone involved.”

Jesse Krisoff of the Vernon Soccer Club added, “The guy didn’t know much about soccer even when he started. He’s just one of those guys who stepped up because we needed him and the kids needed him in the community. And that’s the kind of guy he is.”

Police said the investigation is very much still active.

Those with information, or video, are asked to contact police at (860) 872-9126.

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