South End resident's hit-and-run death in Allston 'a terrible shock' to family

BOSTON — Phocian Fitts had a lot to say to Boston 25 News Wednesday night and it came back to haunt him in court Thursday.

Fitts, 23, was arrested for a fatal hit-and-run crash after his confession aired on Boston 25 News at 10 p.m., court documents revealed Thursday morning.

The crash happened on Commonwealth Avenue in Allston. Police say 80-year-old Ted Schwalb was in a crosswalk when Fitts -- driving his mother’s 2019 Jeep Cherokee -- hit him, throwing his body at least six feet.

“I just think everyone who knew him remembered him as the warmest, vivacious person in the room,” Schwalb’s nephew, Alexander Star, said.

Schwalb is a longtime resident of the South End. He taught art at Stoneham High School before he retired more than a decade ago.

Outside his brownstone, his nephews told us he was always the life of the party and he seemed to defy his age.

MORE: 'I'm not worried': Driver makes no apologies for fatal hit-and-run

“It was a terrible shock, he turned 80 two weeks ago, and he really sounded as relaxed and comfortable in his life as I have heard from him,” Star said.

The principal at Stoneham high School, Donna Cargill, sent Boston 25 News a statement Thursday, which read, “Ted Schwalb was a teacher at Stoneham High School for over three decades, until his retirement in 2000. He taught hundreds of students and inspired many of them to be better people and artists."

Boston 25 News found Phocian Fitts had prior arrests for:

  • Drug Possession
  • Operating w/out a license
  • Receiving stolen property
  • Larceny
  • Armed robbery
  • Assault and battery on a mailman

Fitts is still on probation for the assault on a postal worker, which is a federal offense.

MORE: WATCH: Hit-and-run suspect held on $10K bail after confessing to Boston 25 News