Woman charged with fatal I-95 crash in Darien is on suicide watch
Updated 12:24 pm, Tuesday, May 10, 2011
STAMFORD -- A Superior Court judge on Monday set bond at $35,000 for the Hartford woman accused of causing a crash that killed two people over the weekend on Interstate 95 in Darien.
Yadira Torres, 26, of 100 Benton St., Hartford, was put on suicide watch after her arraignment at state Superior Court in Stamford, where she faces two counts of second-degree manslaughter and single charges of reckless driving and driving under the influence of alcohol. Around 6 a.m. Saturday she 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.
Several passers-by removed a female occupant from the tractor-trailer, but she later died at Stamford Hospital. State Police reported the woman died from burns suffered inside the tractor-trailer's cab.
The tractor-trailer driver was pronounced dead at the crash site. The cause of death was cardiac arrest, according to the State Police. Release of the victims' names is pending notification of relatives.
Torres and three occupants in her car were transported to Norwalk Hospital, where they were treated for minor injuries such as lacerations, possible concussions and a sprains ankle. Torres was arrested at Norwalk Hospital.
During her arraignment Monday, Torres was slowly led before a judge by marshals, her face visibly tearful and distraught. She wore an over-sized white T-shirt and beige pants.
Defense attorney Darnell Crosland argued for the court to halve his client's $100,000 bond, which was set by police during her arrest after the crash. He urged the court to consider setting strict conditions of release instead of maintaining the bond.
Crosland argued that Torres, a repacker at a Hartford warehouse with four children, 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.
"She makes no excuses," Crosland said. "She's had a hard time making it here today."
Before the ruling Assistant State's Attorney David Applegate argued Torres was a flight-risk.
"The defendant does pose a flight risk due to the serious charges and the anxiety that attorney Crosland has pointed out," Applegate said, referring to earlier remarks from Crosland that detailed his client's distraught state of mind over the fatal crash.
Judge Robert Genuario said he needed to think over the bond amount during the 1 p.m. lunch break, and he issued his ruling once court reconvened just after 2 p.m.
In addition to reducing her bond to $35,000, Genuario ordered Torres to undergo electronic location monitoring upon her release from custody and prohibited her from driving. He put her on suicide watch and asked her to cooperate with substance abuse or mental health treatment providers.
The case was continued to May 23.
Crosland said Torres suffered a panic attack after the arraignment and was taken to Stamford Hospital. Authorities took her to York Correctional Institution in Niantic after her treatment, and as of 5 p.m. her relatives had not been able to post bond.
"It's too premature to comment on the factual or evidentiary aspects of this case," Crosland said.