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State Police Report 6 Fatalities, Thousands Of Violations During Holidays

Connecticut State Police patch
Connecticut State Police patch Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. — Connecticut State Police were busy over the two holiday weekends, investigating a number of fatal crashes and handing out thousands of tickets for drunken driving, speeding and other violations.

The enforcement operation from Dec. 22 to Monday, Jan. 2 included having sobriety checkpoints in place to deter drinking and driving.

Police released the following statistics from Dec. 22 to Dec. 26:

  • Accidents: 528
  • With injury: 58
  • With serious injury: One on I-91, Exit 12, North Haven.
  • Fatalities: Four
  • DUI arrests: 47
  • Speeding: 579
  • Seatbelt violations: 50
  • All moving violations: 1,596
  • Motorist assists: 436
  • Total calls for service: 8,046

The four fatal accidents included a pedestrian hit by a car on I-84 in Danbury near exit 7 on Dec. 22; a pedestrian hit by a car on Route 8 in Naugatuck near exit 27 on Dec. 22; an accident on I-691 in Meriden near exit 5 on Dec. 25; and an accident in Hartland on Dec. 26.

Police released the following statistics from Dec. 30 to Jan. 2:

  • Accidents: 276
  • Accidents with injury: 34
  • Serious injury: 0
  • Fatality: 2
  • DUI arrests 34
  • Speeding: 705
  • Seatbelt violations: 15
  • All moving violations: 1,800
  • Motorist Assists: 270
  • Total calls for service: 6,987

The fatal accident investigations included on on I-95 in Westport near exit 18 on Dec. 31 and one on I-395 in Putnam near exit 45 on Jan. 2. State police also assumed the investigation for a fatal accident on Jan. 2 on Harrison Avenue in New Haven.

Police released the following statistics from Dec. 22 to Jan. 2:

  • Accidents: 1111
  • w/Injury: 125
  • Serious injury: 1
  • Fatality: 6
  • DUI arrests:
  • Speeding: 1,680
  • Seatbelt: 75
  • All Moving violations: 4,449
  • Motorist assists: 926
  • Total calls for service: 20,349

The fatal accident in Danbury on Dec. 22 involved a suspected drunken driver who hit and killed a pedestrian on Interstate 84. The driver was apprehended with the help of a witness who called 911 and followed him, according to Connecticut State Police.

The accident occurred at about 5:30 p.m. on eastbound I-84, just past Exit 7, state police said. The driver of the pickup continued after hitting the pedestrian and took Exit 8 for Newtown Road, followed by the witness, state police said.

It was not clear why the pedestrian, identified as Susan Blaney, 53, of Brewster, N.Y., was on the highway.

State police found the suspect, Roger Leblanc, 43, of Torrington, in his white 2005 Chevy Silverado pickup, in the parking lot of The Edge fitness club at 100 Newtown Road, state police said.

The state trooper administered a field sobriety test to Leblanc, who "did not perform to standard," state police said.

Leblanc was arrested and charged with operating under the influence, evading responsibility and second-degree manslaughter with a motor vehicle.

He was held on $500,000 bond with a court date of Friday, Dec. 23.

Blaney was transported to Danbury Hospital, where she was declared dead.

The man killed in a crash early Saturday on I-95 in Westport was ejected from a van after it was rear-ended and rolled down an embankment, according to Connecticut State Police.

The man was identified as Muhamad Bahaga, 32, of the Bronx, N.Y. He was riding in the back seat of a 2003 Chevrolet Astro van and was not wearing a seatbelt, state police said.

The driver, Dembo Batchilly, 53, and the passenger, Ebou Fisiru, 36, both of the Bronx, were transported by Westport EMS to Norwalk Hospital for treatment of minor injuries, state police said.

Their van was rear-ended near Exit 18 of northbound I-95 at 5:15 a.m. by a 2014 Volkswagen Jetta, driven by Jacques Buchanan, 30, of Yonkers, N.Y., state police said. He was not hurt in the crash.

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