Wrong-Way Crash: Bar Receipts, Social Media Lead To Arrest After Woman, 25, Killed In Danbury

A months-long investigation aided by bar receipts and social media posts led to the arrest of a man in connection with a wrong-way alleged drunk driving Connecticut crash that took the life of a young Fairfield County woman.

Charles Connors, age 34, of Milford.

Charles Connors, age 34, of Milford.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

The crash happened on Route 7 in Danbury around 2 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 10 in the southbound lane just north of Exit 7.

The victim, Danielle Dempsey, age 25, of Danbury, was driving a gray 2005 Honda Accord when a black 2018 Dodge Challenger driving in the wrong direction struck her vehicle head-on, Connecticut State Police said.

The operator of the Dodge Challenger, later identified as New Haven County resident Charles Connors, age 34, of Milford, was conscious but entrapped within his vehicle. Connors was extricated and subsequently transported to Danbury Hospital with serious injuries.

At approximately 2:50 a.m., investigating troopers met with a witness who identified the involved vehicle traveling the wrong way as the Dodge Challenger. 

Upon meeting with Connors at the hospital, an investigating trooper detected the odor of an alcoholic beverage emanating from Connors’ person and observed that his speech was delayed and slurred, state police added. 

While speaking with the trooper, Connors made several comments about drinking and driving without being asked. 

According to state police, Connors continuously explained that he did not recall anything before the collision, then spontaneously uttered, “Trust me, I’m a sober type of person.” 

When asked what he meant and why he said it, Connors responded, “It means I don’t drink.”

 Later in the conversation, Connors explained, “I don’t drink or drive or do anything like that.”

Connors continued to tell the trooper that he did not recall anything, then said, “I was fine driving as far as I can recall…I remember driving OK.” 

Due to Connors’ injuries and hospital staff performing necessary medical functions, Standardized Field Sobriety tests were not administered.

A second witness provided investigating troopers with a video depicting several Instagram stories posted by an account identified as “chuckconnors203," said police.

The stories included videos and pictures, which troopers determined were posted at approximately 9 p.m. the evening of the crash.

Among the posts were five posts depicting Connors at multiple bars with what appeared to be alcoholic beverages. In the last video, a male consistent in appearance with Charles Connors, the operator of the Dodge Challenger, was depicted and appeared to be talking about “taking shots.”

Investigating troopers contacted staff at the Danbury Hospital Chemistry Laboratory and confirmed that Danbury Hospital’s protocol is to retain biological specimens, such as blood samples, taken as a normal course of practice when treating injured persons.

On Thursday, Sept. 14, troopers applied for and were granted a search warrant authorizing the seizure of blood and urine samples taken from Connors during his treatment at Danbury Hospital.

Later that same day, the search warrant was executed at Danbury Hospital, resulting in the seizure of six blood samples and one urine sample. 

These samples were processed as evidence and brought to the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection Forensic Science Laboratory for examination.

On Tuesday, Sept. 19, an investigating trooper responded to a bar in Norwalk that Connors was believed to have visited on the night of the collision. Staff at the bar agreed to review their receipts from Sept. 10 and provided troopers with a receipt which had been paid at approximately 8:36 p.m., which reflected an order of three Casamigos Blanco Shots, three 2 oz Banhez Margaritas, two Jimador Blanco shots, and three “El Jimador RT.” The receipt was subsequently processed as evidence in this investigation.

Later in September, investigators received the Laboratory Report regarding toxicology results for Connors, which indicated that at the time Connors’ blood was drawn during his treatment at Danbury Hospital on Sept. 10, his BAC was 0.197.

Based on the information obtained and physical evidence examined during this investigation, troopers applied for and were granted an arrest warrant for Charles Connors on Tuesday, May 7.

On Tuesday, May 14, Connors was taken into custody by the Milford Police Department and transported to Troop A Southbury, where he was processed and charged with the following charges:

  • Manslaughter with a motor vehicle
  • Reckless endangerment
  • Driving the wrong way on a divided highway
  • Operating Under the Influence,
  • Speeding

Connors was held on a $300,000 court-set bond and was transferred to the custody of the CT Department of Correction, pending his arraignment at Danbury Superior Court on Wednesday, May 15.

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