DANBURY, Conn. -- Putnam County Sheriff Donald B. Smith said the car that crashed, killing a driver and two passengers early Saturday morning in Danbury, had fled from an attempted traffic stop in Putnam County, N.Y.
Two other passengers in the car were hospitalized, said Smith, who provided detailed information on the chase and subsequent crash.
Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton described the early-morning scene on Mill Plain Road as a "horrible" crash.
The incident began when a Putnam County deputy sheriff was in a marked cruiser on patrol along Route 6 in Southeast, about three-quarters of a mile from the New York-Connecticut state line at about 4:20 a.m. Saturday, Smith said. The deputy saw an eastbound car being operated erratically and swerving over the center-line of the road, Smith said.
The deputy, suspecting that the driver of the car was intoxicated, turned on his lights and siren to pull over the car, Smith said. The driver did not comply and continued to drive east toward Connecticut, with the deputy following, initially at speeds below the posted speed limit, he said.
When the suspect’s car, a white Nissan Maxima four-door sedan, was about a quarter-mile from the state line, it accelerated, Smith said. The deputy followed the car across the state line and radioed the Sheriff’s Office headquarters to notify the Danbury Police Department to be on the lookout for the car, he said.
About three-quarters of a mile into Connecticut, the deputy decelerated and turned off his siren, Smith said. The suspect’s car continued to accelerate and, about 15 seconds later, it ran off the roadway and crashed into a metal utility pole at the intersection of Mill Plain Road (Routes 6/202) and Milestone Road in Danbury near the Trader Joe's strip mall.
Five people were in the car, including a male driver, two male passengers and two female passengers, Smith said. The driver and male passengers were killed upon impact.
The two females were injured, and the deputy administered first aid, with help from passers-by. The two were transported to Danbury Hospital with injuries to their extremities that are not believed to be life-threatening, he said.
The identities of the victims have not been released.
The sheriff’s deputy was not physically injured but was taken to Putnam Hospital Center in Carmel, N.Y., for observation and then released.
The Danbury Police Department is investigating the crash. The Putnam County Sheriff’s Office is conducting an internal review of the events before the crash.
A preliminary review indicates that the deputy followed the suspect’s car for about 1½ minutes over a distance of about 1½ miles, during which the average speed of the deputy’s cruiser was clocked at slightly less than 65 mph, with top speeds of over 80 mph sustained for about 15 seconds. The crash speed of the other car has not yet been determined.