NEW HAVEN POLICE RELEASE RESULTS OF FATAL ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION
(5/22/2009) NEW HAVEN-- At the request of the New Haven Police Department, the Connecticut State Police conducted the investigation into the collision on September 9, 2008 that involved Sgt. Dario Aponte and Officer Diane Gonzalez and resulted in the death of Sgt. Aponte.
Connecticut Troopers of the Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Squad examined witness statements and one involved operator statement and was unable to determine the status of the traffic control light. The Troopers also obtained video footage of the scene and the actual collision as it occurred, but could not determine the light status even after video enhancement. The investigation has shown that the status of the traffic control light was a significant factor to the collision, but was not the causative factor. This Trooper has determined based on the investigation conducted, that both vehicles violated C.G.S 14-283 Rights of Emergency Vehicles. Obstruction of. In this section it clearly states in part that:
(a) “Emergency vehicle”, as used in this section, means any state or local police vehicle operated by a police officer answering an emergency call or in the pursuit of fleeing law violators.
(b) The operator of any emergency vehicle may (1) park or stand such vehicle, irrespective of the provisions of this chapter, (2) proceed past any red light or stop signal or stop sign, but only after slowing down or stopping to the extent necessary for the safe operation of such vehicle, (3) exceed the posted speed limits or other speed limits imposed by or pursuant to section 14-218a or 14-219 as long as such operator does not endanger life or property by so doing, and (4) disregard statutes, ordinances or regulations governing direction of movement or turning in specific directions.
(d) The provisions of this section shall not relieve the operator of an emergency vehicle from the duty to drive with due regard for the safety of all persons and property.
This statute clearly defines the duties and responsibilities of the operator(s) of an emergency vehicle. Although which operator had the right of way at the intersection of Chapel and East streets cannot be established in this collision, it is clear that both operators failed to operate their respective vehicles with due regard for the safety of all persons and property.
Neither Sgt. Aponte nor Ofc. Gonzalez slowed down or stopped to the extent necessary for the safe operation of their respective emergency vehicles prior to proceeding past any red light or through any intersection. The Connecticut State Police have concluded their investigation.
Contact Name: Jessica Mayorga
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Contact Phone: 203-946-7660