Woman pleads guilty in fatal DUI crash in Darien
Updated 11:01 am, Wednesday, November 30, 2011
STAMFORD -- The 26-year-old woman who caused a May car crash on Interstate 95 in Darien that killed a pregnant teenager and a truck driver pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter charges last week, agreeing to serve at least five years in prison.
Yadira Torres, of Benton Street, Hartford, pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree manslaughter and single counts of reckless driving and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol Nov. 22 in state Superior Court in Stamford. Her public defender, Howard Ehring, said Torres, a repacker at a Hartford warehouse and mother of four, admitted to the charges under a plea agreement that called for five to eight years in prison.
A judge will set the length of the term during sentencing Feb. 22, during which Ehring and the prosecutor, Assistant State's Attorney David Applegate, will argue for what they feel are appropriate sentences.
Ehring said Torres felt remorse over the fatal crash and admitted responsibility. She stopped driving after the collision and agreed to serve a prison term. Torres is currently free on $35,000 bail.
"She is just beyond distraught," Ehring said.
Applegate said he couldn't comment since the case is still pending.
The crash killed James A. Sorto, 42, and a passenger, Kelly Taborda, 18, both of North Bergen, N.J., State Police said. It took several days for the state medical examiner to identify Sorto because of his burns.
Taborda, who was pregnant, according to state police, died at Stamford Hospital from multiple blunt trauma injuries. Sorto was pronounced dead at the crash site.
Around 6 a.m. on May 7, Torres was driving a rented 2010 Dodge Caliber SXT north on I-95 when she lost control and hit a tractor-trailer she was trying to pass, according to a state police accident report. She was returning from a night of drinking at a Manhattan nightclub, said Joseph Walsh, the Danbury attorney representing the Taborda family.
The collision caused the truck to overturn and spin around, separating the trailer from the truck, which then burst into flames near exit 10, the report said.
Several passers-by removed Taborda from the tractor-trailer.
Torres and three occupants in her car were taken to Norwalk Hospital, where they were treated for minor injuries. Torres was arrested at the hospital.
Walsh said Torres had minimal car insurance coverage, and Taborda's family opted against filing a civil lawsuit. Instead Walsh said he plans on investigating whether to file a dram shop lawsuit against the Manhattan nightclub, La Escuelita, that served Torres alcohol before the accident.