Home Vehicle Accidents $200M claim filed against CT after victims in fatal crash not found for hours

$200M claim filed against CT after victims in fatal crash not found for hours

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A law firm has filed claims against the state, seeking $200 million in damages on allegations that two people were left for hours in a crashed car off a Connecticut highway last year when a state police trooper trainee failed to search for the wreck after finding debris on the highway.

The firm, filing separate claims on behalf of D’Yanna Wallace and the estate of Jayan Bryan, a 25-year-old Middletown resident who died in the crash, argues the state police failed to properly train the trooper trainee and in turn the trainee did not locate the crashed Nissan where both victims were trapped inside.

“The failure of the state to properly train and fund the police departments has consequences,” said Peter C. Bowman, of BBB Attorneys, who is representing the plaintiffs. “In this case, our clients suffered and a young woman died because of the state’s failures. Crime is up, traffic fatalities are up and police departments are struggling. The police are supposed to protect and serve. By failing to properly train and fund the police, the state left one of our clients to die, and another to unnecessarily suffer for five more hours with life-threatening injuries.”

According to legal filings, the single-car crash happened sometime between 10 p.m. on Feb. 19, 2021 and 1:47 a.m. on Feb. 20, 2021, on Interstate-84 westbound near exits 26, 27 and 28 in the towns of Southington and Cheshire.

The trooper trainee was dispatched to the area after a passing vehicle hit a large piece of debris, later determined to be a trunk lid, in the area around 1:47 a.m., the filing read. But the filing alleges that the trooper did not investigate the crash and left the scene.

The trooper trainee arrived at the scene about 2:25 a.m. The filing does not acknowledge what may have caused the crash.

Bryan and Wallace, 24, of Wethersfield, remained trapped inside the vehicle until the same trooper trainee was again dispatched to the area around 7:24 a.m., the filing read. Bryan suffered injuries that led to her death, the filing said. Wallace, who was transported to St. Mary’s Hospital, suffered serious injuries that required 15 surgeries and have life-long consequences, according to lawyers.

The claims name two troopers, the state police, the state Department of Transportation, Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection Commissioner James Rovella and Department of Transportation Commissioner Joseph Giulietti.

The state police, DOT and the Attorney General’s office each declined to comment when reached Tuesday.

Alleging that the trooper trainee failed to properly investigate the matter and the state failed to train and staff the area for patrol, the claims accuse the defendants of recklessness, negligent infliction of emotional distress and intentional infliction of emotional distress, the filing shows.

The claim filed to the state’s Office of the Claims Commissioner is an early step in the process. The claims commissioner must review the matter before ruling whether it may progress and the plaintiffs can file lawsuits against the state.

Each claim seeks damages of $100 million, filings show.

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