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Former Danbury Cop Charged With Reckless Driving In Deadly Off-Duty Chase

Former Danbury Police Officer Jamie Hodge, 39, of Danbury, was charged with reckless driving. Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police
Ricardo Andre was driving the stolen car, which was pursued by an off-duty police officr. Photo Credit: Danbury Police Department
Tiffany Fitzgerald died of injuries she suffered when she was ejected from the Explorer as it rolled over multiple times. Photo Credit: Contributed

DANBURY — A former Danbury police officer was arrested Friday evening on a charge of reckless driving in connection with a police pursuit and fatal crash in the city in December while he was off duty, state police said. 

Jamie Hodge, 39, of Danbury turned himself in to State Police in Southbury at 7:30 p.m. Friday and was arrested on a warrant, state police said. 

He was released on $2,500 bond and is scheduled to appear in Waterbury Superior Court on Aug. 22.  

Hodge, who was pursuing a stolen vehicle, "was operating his personal vehicle at a rate of speed as to endanger the life of any person,” said the arrest warrant, which spelled out the details of what happened that day.

Related story: Chase Of Stolen Car Ends In Crash In Danbury

Charges are also expected to be filed against the second driver involved, state police said.

The charges stemmed from a fatal crash that occurred at about 10:40 a.m. Dec. 1 on Mountainville Road as Hodge pursued a stolen car. The case was investigated by the Connecticut State Police, which released the arrest warrant late Friday. 

The incident began when Hodge, who was working an extra-duty job directing traffic on Center Street, spotted a 1997 Ford Explorer that he knew to be stolen, police said.

Related story: State Cops Identify Driver Of Stolen Car Crashed In Police Chase

He approached the Explorer, but the driver, Ricardo Andre, 32, of Danbury, sped off, police said. Hodge took off after the Explorer in his own personal vehicle, a Chevy Tahoe, and called it into dispatch, according to police.

The stolen Explorer traveled south on Mountainville Road, police said. Andre struck a road sign and a utility pole before careening across a home's driveway at 13 Mountainville Road, police said. The speeding Explorer became airborne and rolled several times across the lawn, police said.

The passenger, Danbury resident Tiffany Fitzgerald, 26, was ejected from the car and died later of her injuries. Andre suffered serious injuries, police said.

Related story: Driver Of Stolen Car Arrested After Fatal Police Chase 

The crash happened near the intersection of Mountainville and Mountain roads, near the border with Bethel and Redding. It was captured by security cameras at one of the homes on the street, the arrest warrant said. The footage showed the stolen Explorer was traveling at a high rate of speed, the arrest warrant said. 

Andre, who was in pursuit of the stolen vehicle, arrived at the scene just after the crash occurred, police said.

Related story: Family Mourns Danbury Woman, 26, Killed In Crash Of Stolen Car

Two city deputy fire marshals who were witnesses to part of the pursuit were also interviewed by state police. They said the stolen Explorer ran a red light at South Street and Main Street at a high rate of speed, with Hodge in close pursuit following, the arrest warrant said.  

The arrest warrant also said Andre was high on crack cocaine at the time of the pursuit and the crash. He had only first met Fitzgerald that day at a crack house and was giving her a ride, the arrest warrant said.   

On Dec 5, Andre was arrested on three warrants. The first charged him with sixth-degree larceny, violation of probation and two counts of second-degree failure to appear. The second charged him with sixth-degree larceny, interfering with and officer/resisting, violation of probation and second-degree failure to appear.

The third charged him with first-degree reckless endangerment, interfering with an officer/resisting; reckless driving, engaging in police pursuit, illegal operation of motor vehicle under suspension and second-degree failure to appear. 

Hodge. who resigned earlier this year, had been with the Danbury Police Department for about a year. 

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