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DA Claims Man Hurled Racial Slurs At Victim Of Fatal Road Rage Incident

One man is dead and another man is facing charges in what authorities are calling a road rage encounter.

Dean Kapsalis, 54, of Hudson, was arrested Tuesday and charged with a civil rights violation causing injury, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon causing serious bodily injury, and leaving the scene of a crash.

Belmont police responded to a 911 call on Upland Road around 4:20 p.m. Tuesday, and found Henry Tapia, 35, of Boston, injured in the road, according to a statement by the Middlesex County district attorney's office and Belmont Police Chief James MacIsaac. Tapia was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital and later died from his injuries.

Witnesses told police that Tapia was arguing with another man, later identified as Kapsalis, who is white, and allegedly shouted racial slurs at Tapia, who is Black. Kapsalis then got into his pickup and struck Tapia, dragging him a short distance before fleeing the scene, according to the police report.

Kapsalis turned himself into police about 30 minutes later, authorities said.

An attorney entered a not guilty plea for Kapsalis during an arraignment in Cambridge District Court on Wednesday. Judge Robert Harnais ordered him held pending a hearing to determine whether he is a danger to society, according to Ryan and MacIsaac.

"These are the kinds of incidents of which we have sadly, particularly over the last year, seen an increase across our country, across our nation, and unfortunately even here in Middlesex County," Ryan told WBUR. "We cannot and will not tolerate behavior that is rooted in racial bias."

Kapsalis is expected back in court on Monday.

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