Victim of fatal I-95 crash was pregnant
Updated 8:19 am, Thursday, May 12, 2011
DARIEN -- Two New Jersey residents, including a pregnant 18-year-old woman, have been identified as the victims of Saturday morning's fatal tractor-trailer crash on Interstate 95.
Lt. J. Paul Vance, the state police spokesman, said Taborda was pregnant at the time.
Yadira Torres, 26, of Hartford, the SUV driver police said caused the crash, is facing multiple charges, including second-degree manslaughter. She remained in custody after a Monday court appearance. Officials said Torres is on suicide watch.
Sorto was pronounced dead at the scene. Taborda, originally from Colombia, was pulled from the truck's cab by several passers-by and transported by ambulance to Stamford Hospital.
Taborda died at 7:12 a.m. Saturday at the hospital from multiple blunt traumatic injuries. The driver, believed to be Sorto, has not been positively identified because of his fatal burns, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said.
Diego Arias, a 19-year-old from North Bergen, said he grew up with Taborda. He described her as friendly and studious, and noted she took a year off from high school to care for her mother when she suffered a stroke two years ago.
While on Facebook Saturday night, he learned she was killed in the accident; he then called Taborda's younger sister to confirm the news.
"I felt cold and pale," Arias said. "I couldn't believe that it was her out of all people."
A Catholic church in North Bergen held a memorial service Tuesday for Taborda, drawing friends, relatives, teachers and local politicians, Arias said. At the Mass, Arias first learned Taborda was pregnant. He believed, after speaking with Taborda's younger sister, that she was in a relationship with Sorto.
He said Taborda's family is struggling with her loss. Arias said Taborda worked as a waitress at Colombian restaurants and recently moved out of her family's home.
"They're in bad shape," Arias said. "They're in really bad shape. You just look at them and it hits you."
Torres and three other occupants of the SUV she was driving were taken to Norwalk Hospital and treated for minor injuries including lacerations, possible concussions and a sprained ankle. Torres was taken into custody at the hospital.
The accident occurred around 6 a.m. Saturday.
Torres was driving a rented 2010 Dodge Caliber SXT north on I-95 when she tried to pass a tractor-trailer, but lost control and hit it, according to a state police accident report. 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.
Torres was charged with two counts of second-degree manslaughter and single counts of reckless driving and driving under the influence of alcohol. She was arraigned Monday at state Superior Court in Stamford and held on a reduced bond of $30,000.
Torres, a mother of four young children, was taken to the York Correctional Institute in Niantic following a tearful court appearance and was put on suicide watch. During the court appearance, Torres' attorney, Darnell Crosland, argued that Torres, a repacker at a Hartford warehouse, deserved a lesser bond because she does not have a criminal record and was remorseful for the fatal crash. He asked the court to set bond at an amount that Torres and her relatives could raise.
The case was continued to May 23.