NEW BEDFORD — A city resident who called 911 after witnessing from his apartment the aftermath of a May 1 car crash involving City Councilor Hugh Dunn died earlier this month of natural causes, according to city records.

The man was 47 years old. The listed causes of death were pneumonia, respiratory failure and cardiac arrest, while contributing conditions included alcoholic hepatitis and sepsis, the death certificate states. 


The Light has not confirmed whether the 911 caller was set to testify during Dunn’s upcoming bench trial as the prosecutor and defense attorney did not respond to requests for comment. 

Photo entered as an exhibit for the Hugh Dunn case in New Bedford District Court, which appears to be taken from the apartment building and overlooking the parking lots where the car crashes occurred. Credit: New Bedford District Court

The South Water Street resident lived in an apartment building in front of the parking lots where police say Dunn’s vehicle struck two parked cars after 1 a.m. He provided testimony during Dunn’s show cause hearing last fall, The Standard-Times reported.

The witness said that he did not see the crashes occur, just the aftermath, and that he took photos of the scene with his cell phone to show to police.

Dunn was charged with operating a vehicle while under the influence, negligent operation of a motor vehicle and leaving the scene of property damage. The Bristol County District Attorney’s office applied for the three charges after the New Bedford Police Department did not issue any. 

Damage to the vehicle owned by Hugh Dunn. Photos submitted as exhibits for Dunn’s trial. Credit: New Bedford District Court

A not guilty plea was entered during Dunn’s arraignment.

Dunn was originally scheduled to appear in New Bedford District Court for his bench trial on March 22, which has since been delayed. During a bench trial, the judge, not a jury, determines whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty. 

Daniel Bennett, the state-appointed prosecutor, did not respond to a request for comment on whether the witness was set to testify during the trial. Dunn’s attorney, Tim Walsh, also did not respond to a request for comment on the death of the witness.

John C. O’Neil, the Fall River clerk magistrate who heard testimony from the witness and other individuals during the show cause hearing last fall, told The Light that at this time, the court does not record show cause hearings. 

Dunn’s trial has been delayed to June 3. Bennett previously told The Light the trial was continued due to discovery issues related to an expert report.

Dunn continues to serve as Ward 3 city councilor, winning the latest election in the fall of 2021 after running unopposed. 

Email Anastasia E. Lennon at

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