Driver in double-fatality arraigned
Published 10:43 am, Tuesday, November 2, 2010
STAMFORD -- The lawyer for a 39-year-old yoga instructor charged in the fatal accident that killed two men changing a tire on the southbound shoulder of Interstate 95 in Darien last month said his client cooperated with State Police at the scene.
Defense attorney Darnell Crosland said Blanks stopped just after the accident site when her air-bags deployed and didn't undergo a blood-alcohol content test at the scene, which occurred Oct. 16 on a narrow overpass south of Exit 11 in Darien.
Authorities initially charged Blanks with two counts of vehicular manslaughter, which were dropped by prosecutors at state Superior Court in Stamford because they lacked probable cause.
"It was just an unfortunate accident," Crosland said. "They jumped to conclusions when they stated it was alcohol-related. There is no proof for that."
"She did all she could to help police," he added.
Assistant State's Attorney Steven Weiss would not comment on details of the case.
Blanks now faces two counts of evading responsibility and a single count of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. She was arraigned Monday morning at the Stamford courthouse, appearing briefly with her mother and father. The Bedford Street resident returns to court Nov. 16 and is free on $250,000 bond.
Crosland said prosecutors asked for a continuance because state police are still investigating the accident. Meanwhile, Crosland said Blanks is grieving the deaths of the two men killed in the accident. One of their relatives went so far as to contact Blanks.
"We continue to keep the lines of communication open, and although none of the families can ever fully move on from this, our hopes is that they all can gain solace in each other," Crosland said in a statement sent via e-mail.
The Connecticut State Police at the Troop G barracks in Bridgeport said Blanks caused the accident that killed Chagas, 19, of Bethel and Silva, 22, of Colonial Road in Stamford.
The men stood to the left of a 1999 Chevrolet Cavalier off the southbound lanes of I-95 in Darien when a 2003 Lincoln Aviator driven by Blanks struck and killed them, authorities say. She also hit the Cavalier and a 2002 Volkswagen Passat parked on the right shoulder of 95. Blanks is accused of fleeing from the fatal accident scene. State police reported that troopers caught her moments later north of Exit 10 in Darien, several hundred feet from the accident site, after authorities broadcast details of the hit-and-run.
"It's a mathematical process to reconstruct an accident," said Agustin Sevillano, an attorney hired by the family of Chagas. "It takes some time."
Several friends and relatives of Chagas and Silva huddled outside the prosecutors' offices at the Stamford courthouse after Blanks' brief court appearance Monday morning. They declined to comment on the court proceedings.