Categories: Breaking News

Man charged in fatal crash that killed wife, another in Woodbridge last summer – Hartford Courant

A New Jersey man turned himself into Connecticut State Police Thursday night in connection with a crash in Woodbridge that killed his wife, another woman and injured five in August 2021.

Juan Fernandez, 38, of Union City, New Jersey, was arrested and charged with two counts of negligent homicide, four counts of second-degree assault, first-degree reckless driving, three counts of risk of injury to a minor, three counts of failure to use child restraint, speeding and failure to maintain lane, according to state police.

According to state police, Fernandez was driving a 2012 Honda Accord on Route 15 North near Exit 58 when the car veered onto the right shoulder and struck a tree in the early afternoon on August 13 of 2021. There were six other passengers in the vehicle at the time, and all were taken to the hospital for injuries sustained in the crash.

Siryania Albino-De Fernandez, 30, Fernandez’s wife, was taken to Yale New Haven Hospital with life-threatening injuries and later pronounced dead. Zionette Santos-Degil, 28, of Union City, was seriously injured in the crash and taken to Yale New Haven Hospital. He later died in hospital nearly a month after the crash on September 11, 2021.

Three children, ages 7, 6 and 6 at the time, were also injured in the crash. They had suspected serious injuries and were also hospitalized. An 18-year-old woman was also in the car and suffered minor injuries, state police said.

Fernandez’s arrest warrant detailed the crash, including some interviews with witnesses to the crash.

A witness said they were traveling in the right lane of Route 15 at about 60 mph when a dark-colored Honda Accord passed them on the right shoulder at about 70 to 80 mph, according to the warrant. The passenger in the vehicle, a green Nissan Altima, said he saw the woman in the passenger seat “screaming really loud” like she was screaming. Witnesses then saw the Honda hit the tree, according to the warrant.

Witnesses told police they stopped and rushed to the scene to help the crash victims. Other bystanders helped get the three children out of the car, witnesses told police. They said a woman was trapped and trapped in the vehicle with the front end smashed into her, according to the warrant.

A man ran in with a crowbar and tried to open the passenger door but was unable to, according to the warrant. Another man came to check the woman’s pulse and said her pulse was weak. Emergency services arrived 20 to 25 minutes later, witnesses said, according to the warrant.

Another witness, who helped remove the children from the back of the vehicle, said Fernandez was dragged out of the driver’s side and kept saying, “My God, my woman,” according to the warrant.

Fernandez told police she got home from work at 9 a.m. the day of the crash and began packing for a family day out. The family and some close friends were going to Wadsworth Falls State Park in Middletown and were going to meet another friend in a separate car there, according to the warrant.

She said she stopped once along the way for ice and juice and asked her kids how to spell words like “book” and “beautiful.” He said it’s a favorite game the family plays, according to the order.

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He said he remembered driving near Exit 58 and hearing a pop in the vehicle. He told police he wasn’t sure what it was, but heard his wife say “be careful,” according to the warrant. He says he doesn’t remember hitting a tree. According to the warrant, he told police he started looking for his wife but couldn’t see her because of the damage.

That’s when Fernandez told police he got out of the car and tried to find his wife and children, according to the warrant. He said he then realized his wife was trapped inside the vehicle. He recalled being in the ambulance calling for his wife and children after emergency services arrived, according to the warrant.

Fernandez told police he suffered a broken left arm, a fractured kneecap, was in “extreme pain” in his ribs and right arm and had a broken nose, according to the warrant. He said hospital staff told him his wife died the day of the crash and his children were fine, according to the warrant.

Medical records obtained by police on October 10, 2021 indicated that there was no alcohol in Fernandez’s system at the time of the accident.

The Honda’s speed was estimated at 70 mph when it hit the tree, according to the warrant. The speed limit in the area is 55 mph.

A post-crash inspection of the vehicle noted that seat belts were in use in the front of the vehicle but not in the rear seat at the time of the accident. The seat was capable of holding three passengers, but five were seated in the back, according to the order. There were no car seats in use for the young children, according to the order.

Fernandez was released on $25,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in New Haven Court on September 23.


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