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Girlfriend of Butler Township hit-and-run suspect now facing charges

By SHELLEY BORTZ

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    BUTLER TOWNSHIP, Pennsylvania (KDKA) — Another person is now charged in a hit-and-run that killed a local high school student.

Police say the alleged driver was hiding out with his girlfriend when he was captured. Now, she faces charges of hindering the investigation.

Police have charged Nicole Kelly for interfering with the apprehension of her boyfriend, Joshua Rivera. Rivera had been on the run since Thursday and was tracked down to a Comfort Inn early Sunday morning.

“You have to man up when you do something, and this guy didn’t.”

The hunt for Joshua Rivera came to an end early Sunday morning when Butler Township police officers found him allegedly hiding out at a Comfort Inn.

“It makes the community feel good that he is finally caught. He is no stranger to the law, is what we learned,” neighbor Jim Thompson said.

Police say Rivera struck 15-year-old Aiden Lutz with his vehicle while he rode his bike along Dutchtown Road Thursday afternoon.

Thompson tells KDKA-TV he and other neighbors, including a nurse, were at Lutz’s side minutes after he was hit, rendering aid until paramedics arrived.

The Butler Area High School sophomore later died at the hospital.

He says Rivera did stop and got out of his car briefly before taking off.

“He got out of his vehicle. He said, ‘Oh my God, oh my God, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.’ The witness who was with him asked him to calm down; he hopped in his car and took off.”

According to police paperwork obtained by KDKA-TV, police questioned Rivera’s girlfriend, Nicole Kelly, about his whereabouts Friday evening.

She allowed officers to search her home and was instructed to call the police if Rivera contacted her. When officers eventually caught up with Rivera at the Comfort Inn, Kelly was with him.

Police say she made no attempt to contact them about Rivera’s location and was arrested. Neighbors where the hit-and-run occurred tell KDKA-TV they’re relieved to know justice will be served.

“They’ve been racing up and down this street for as long as we’ve been here. It’s just tragic it had to come to an end this way.”

Rivera’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for Nov. 1.

Butler Area School District is offering support to students or staff members who are dealing with grief after Aiden’s death.

The Center for Community Resources Crisis Line is also offering help to anybody living in Butler County.

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