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Woman Accused of Causing Fatal Car Crash in Weston

Weston Police: Head-on collision in May resulted in the death of an 85-year-old woman.

A Norwalk woman was arraigned in state Superior Court in Norwalk Thursday, accused of reckless driving that resulted in the death of an 85-year-old woman in Weston in May.

Cindy Rivera, 21, is also charged with negligent homicide with a motor vehicle, speeding, failure to drive in the proper lane on a mutli-lane highway, and operating a motor vehicle without having a driver's license.

Rivera came to Weston Police Headquarters after being advised the department had obtained a warrant for her arrest. She was held on $50,000 bond.

According to an affidavit Weston Det. Carl Filsinger prepared to obtain the warrant, on May 6 Rivera was driving northbound on Newtown Turnpike (Rt. 53) near the Redding town line when, going around a sharp turn at excessive speed, her car crossed into the oncoming lanes and crashed head on into a car being driven by the deceased, Emily Gene Harrison Smith of Norwalk.

Smith, a lifelong Norwalk resident, sustained severe injuries and died in Yale-Haven Hospital on May 22. The state Medical Examiner's Office said she died of blunt force trauma as the result of a motor vehicle accident.

According to the affidavit, a passenger in Rivera's car, 17-year-old Kelvin Munoz, told an officer at the scene Rivera went around a corner too fast and her car went out of conrol.

The same officer also spoke with two witnesses who said Rivera's car was traveling at high speed when her Ford crossed in the southbound lanes and crashed into a Honda being driven by Smith.

The force of the crash caused the engine of Rivera's car to detach from her vehicle and fly into into a wooded area off the road, the affidavit says. 

An emergency medical technician who worked at the accident scene reportedly told police Rivera said her car was side-swiped by another car that then made a U-turn and began chasing her, which is why she was driving so fast.

The affidavit says Rivera's car was examined by Jordan Ranney, a mechanic certified by the National Institute of Automatic Excellence and the manager of the Weston Center Service Station, 199 Weston Rd.

Ranney allegedly found Rivera's car had mismatched tires, with the front tires having different heights and the left rear tire being narrower than the right rear tire. Ranney found the brake pads on Rivera's car were worn to their limit but were still functional, the affidavit says.

During Rivera's arraignment before Judge Maureen D. Dennis, a representative from the state Bail Commissioner's offfice said Rivera has lived in Connecticut 12 years and has no criminal record.

Rivera's attorney, Stephen J. Deleo of Stamford, said she is a single-parent of a four-year-old son, works at McDonald's, and is a student at Porter and Chester Instititute, a technical school.

Dennis reduced Rivera's bond to $10,000 and continued her case to Oct. 31.

Rivera, of 26 Silvermine Ave., was released shortly after her arraignment after posting bond through a bail bondsman.

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