DANBURY, Conn. — Amanda Fitzgerald, whose sister, Tiffany Fitzgerald of Danbury, died in the crash of a stolen car driven by speeding driver, said the world has lost a “wonderful person.”
In a Facebook message sent shortly after midnight Thursday, Amanda Fitzgerald wrote: “My sister was a wonderful person. She was sober, she was clean, she was a good-hearted person and she was taken advantage of. She trusted that guy to give her a ride to her job interview and he ran from the cops and killed her. She didn't deserve it."
Tiffany Fitzgerald, 26, died over the weekend of injuries suffered when she was ejected from a 1997 Ford Explorer when the driver, Ricardo Andre, lost control and the Explorer rolled more than a dozen times on Mountainville Road on Dec. 1. She was a passenger in the car, which had been reported stolen, police said.
An off-duty police officer working at a construction site at Center Street and Main Street had tried to stop the car there, but the driver, Ricardo Andre, sped off, state police said.
Elliot Spector, the attorney representing Officer Jaime Hodge said Hodge followed the Explorer in his own personal vehicle because he was off duty and to keep the stolen vehicle in sight until other officers could respond, according to a story at the WLAD-AM website. Spector told WLAD that Hodge didn't see the accident.
But Fitzgerald's family disputed that.
"The cop illegally chased them and made them crash. There has not been any justice for her -- just lies spread," Amanda Fitzgerald said.
Andre, 32, of Danbury was arrested on three warrants on Monday when he was released from Danbury Hospital, police said. The charges included multiple counts of sixth-degree larceny, violation of probation, second-degree failure to appear, interfering with and officer/resisting, first-degree reckless endangerment, reckless driving, engaging in police pursuit and illegal operation of motor vehicle under suspension.
Police said more charges were possible.
The accident remains under investigation by the Connecticut State Police, which took control after the crash. The Danbury Police Department is also conducting an internal investigation.
Tiffany's father, Tim Fitzgerald, has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for her funeral.
So far the effort, which has been shared 376 times, has raised $1,660 of its $8,000 goal.
One the GoFundMe page, Tim and Amanda Fitzgerald wrote: “This is the hardest thing I've ever had to do in my life -- put my daughter Tiffany to rest. I am in desperate need of some help for services and to put her at rest."
The GoFundMe page said Tiffany's mother, Liz Fitzgerald, was also killed in a car crash, in January.
To date, 23 donations have been made on the GoFundMe page. One of these was from Sean Bollinger, who wrote, “I'm so sorry for your loss. Tiffany was an amazing person and she will be missed greatly.”
Another donator, Annie Atwood, wrote, “So sorry for your loss. May your little girl rest In peace.”
Click here to contribute to the GoFundMe page.