Families mourn victims of fatal collisions
SHELTON — A fatal collision on River Road, the second over the weekend, has left several families shattered.
Briana Torres-Carter, 23, of Bridgeport, was seven months pregnant when she died on Sunday. Her family and friends had thrown her a baby shower on Saturday.
Now her family and friends will be attending the funeral of her and her unborn daughter, Luna Rose, on Thursday at Funeraria Luz de Paz in Bridgeport.
Torres-Carter’s best friend, 18-year-old Shalymar Herrera, of West Haven, was also killed in the crash.
Herrera recently graduated from Bridgeport Military Academy with honors, her uncle, Albert Benejan, said. She was living with her parents and younger brother in West Haven at the time of her death.
“She was my only niece. She was my everything, my princess,” Benejan said. “She was very friendly, she had a good heart. Everyone loved her.”
Benejan said his sister, Herrera’s mother, called him around 9 p.m. on Sunday after the crash, and family and friends gathered at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport. Herrera’s parents were still making funeral arrangements, he said.
“My sister, she doesn’t know what she’s going to do without her daughter, my niece,” Benejan said.
Benejan described Herrera as a lover of life and a positive person, something echoed by former classmate Kelly Martinez.
“She always welcomed you with open arms and was the first to talk to you if you were new, and she always knew how to light up the room in just seconds,” Martinez said.
Torres-Carter and Herrera were passengers in a Mini Cooper along with 19-year-old Jessie Abrams, of Bridgeport, driven by Torres-Carter’s husband, Lawrence Carter Jr., 19, of Bridgeport.
Police said the Mini Cooper was traveling southbound on River Road when it and a Saturn sedan carrying members of a popular local band traveling northbound collided around 7 p.m. Sunday.
Carter is in the hospital in critical condition and Abrams is being treated in the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
The driver of the Saturn, Caitlin Kalafus, 25, of Pennsylvania, and her 22-year-old sister Carly Kalafus, and Paul Valleau, 26, also of Pennsylvania, were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
The Kalafus sisters front the band Like Violet.
The road, also known as Route 110, was closed for several hours between Rocky Rest Road and Murphy’s Lane, to allow the Shelton Police Traffic Division Reconstruction Team to investigate.
Shelton police are asking witnesses or those with information to call the traffic division at 203-924-1544.
The victim of a single-vehicle fatal Stratford accident also has been named, 20-year-old Dawaan Edwards of Bridgeport.
Edwards was the passenger in the vehicle when it crashed into a tree while driving westbound on Lordship Boulevard near Access Road about 12:30 a.m. Friday, according to Stratford police Capt. Frank Eannotti.
Eannotti said the vehicle “failed to negotiate a slight curve in the roadway, drove off the road and struck a tree near the intersection,” Eannotti said.
Note: an earlier version of this story had an inaccurate description of Torres-Carter’s pregnancy.