Catrina Costello arrested after ramming her SUV car into her Seabrook, New Hampshire neighbors, killing the husband and seriously injuring the wife. Incident follows years of acrimony and recent protection orders.
A New Hampshire woman with a long running beef with her neighbors has struck and killed a man after ramming her vehicle into a married couple as they walked their dog Wednesday night, leading to the husband’s death.
Associated Press reported Catrina Marie Costello, 38, striking her neighbors, 64 year old man, Stephen VanDalinda and his 61-year-old wife, Erin, in the town of Seabrook, a town of about 9,000 near the Massachusetts border. Erin remaimed hospitalized with serious injuries.
Authorities said Catrina Costello, 38, was driving drunk when she hit the Vandalinda’s, before fleeing the scene in her SUV truck. Upon her arrest, the woman was booked on nine charges, including felony assault, reckless second-degree murder, aggravated driving while intoxicated and violation of a stalking order of protection.
Upon charging Costello on Thursday, investigators intimated Costello increasing her speed when she saw the couple, deliberately plowing into them.
The husband was declared at the scene following his injuries. An autopsy revealed the cause of death as blunt-force trauma to the head and extremities. The struck wife suffered severe injuries including broken ribs and a collapsed lung. The dog, a German shepherd named Lucy, was also killed.
DEADLY FEUD: A New Hampshire woman is facing a murder charge after allegedly ramming her truck into her neighbors, killing the husband and a pet dog – after a legal history of bad blood. @GioBenitez with the details. https://t.co/Fbb2MoEFYp pic.twitter.com/MMYF2rKz92
— World News Tonight (@ABCWorldNews) August 31, 2018
“He was a wonderful man, dedicated father…” Friends remember Stephen VanDalinda of Seabrook, NH. Homicide investigation now police say after they were run down by a neighbor. Wife, Erin, still in very serious condition. Candlelight vigil tonight…. @NBC10Boston @NECN pic.twitter.com/vDlIXE2XAn
— Kathryn Sotnik NBC10 Boston (@KatNBCBoston) August 30, 2018
Catrina Costello feared by the VanDalindas:
SeacoastOnline.com reported neighbors saying the VanDalindas had growing fear of Costello over years of repeated threats against them. Things had gotten so bad, neighbors said, the VanDalindas put their home up for sale and were planning to move in October.
The two families had lived next door to one 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 told via WCVB-TV.
Seabrook Town Selectman and State Rep. Aboul Khan, who lived across the street from the VanDalindas, said he believes the dispute may have started over an argument 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.
‘I could not believe it,’ the dumbfounded neighbor offered. ‘I don’t know if it deliberate or not. It doesn’t make any sense.’
“Ms. Costello yelled at me ‘You better watch your back’ and ‘You are going to need protection,’” Erin VanDalinda wrote in a request for a protection order in September 2017. Erin now suffers serious injuries after police say Costello intentionally hit her with her car. #WBZ pic.twitter.com/rI8kHu3fq5
— Kristina Rex (@KristinaRex) August 30, 2018
Stephen & Erin VanDalinda take out protection order against Catrina Costello:
The midweek tragedy follows a district court in Seabrook, last year issuing a protective order in which Costello was supposed to stay away from Erin VanDalinda for a year. In the document reviewed by AP, Erin VanDalinda alleged she’d been threatened by Costello four times over a five-month period in 2017 and that Costello had trespassed on their property.
She also alleged that one of Costello’s pit bulls had mauled her dog and bit Stephen VanDalinda on the arm. By then, police had ben called out to the area multiple times to break up confrontations.
The New Hampshire Union Leader reports that Catrina Costello filed a petition to get the restraining order lifted. She denied harassing or threatening the VanDalinda’s. Costello accused her neighbors of discriminating against her because of an “accident” involving her dog.
— Kathryn Burcham (@kathrynburcham) August 30, 2018
Relations between Catrina Costello and the VanDalinda’s continued to devolve:
So frayed had relations between the neighbors become, local, Brian Henderson told WMUR-TV he’d witnessed Costello screaming at Erin and Stephen on multiple occasions.
According to Henderson, Erin VanDalinda said Costello often shined a green laser beam toward the couple. The wife revealed Costello also making derogatory comments about her husband’s military background; Stephen was a veteran of the Massachusetts Army National Guard and Massachusetts Air National Guard.
Neighbors said the VanDalindas were well-known and would frequently chat with neighbors on their walks with their dog.
‘They are just wonderful people, great friends,’ said Marilyn Johnston, who lives three houses down 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’re devastated. This is the safest, nicest neighborhood that I have every lived in. It’s just so sad,’ the shocked friend and neighbor said.
Come Labor Day weekend, Costello remained in the custody of the Rockingham Department of Corrections. She reportedly waived the arraignment and was being held without bail.
Asst AG Geoff Ward tells media that in addition to 6 felonies, Catrina Costello faces 1 count of wreckless 2nd degree murder for allegedly driving into Stephen & Erin VanDalinda – killing him & seriously injuring his wife @WMUR9 #wmur pic.twitter.com/4lrB6zWwAY
— Jennifer Crompton (@JenCromptonWMUR) August 30, 2018