Passenger ejected when van in Norwalk police chase crashes on I-95; 5 injured

NORWALK, Conn. (WTNH) — Five people were injured, one severely, when a minivan that lead a police chase in Norwalk early Saturday morning crashed in a construction zone after the pursuit was suspended.

According to authorities, 19-year-old Joelle Marte, a female passenger in the minivan, was ejected when it crashed into a guardrail and a parked construction truck near exit 13 on I-95 South. They say she was taken to Norwalk Hospital with severe but non life-threatening injuries to her lower extremities.

Officials say two construction workers, 35-year-old Diyar Saeed and 67-year-old Johnny Smalls, another passenger in the van, 22-year-old Yudely Marte, and its driver, 35-year-old Marino De Los Santos, were taken to Stamford Hospital with minor injuries.

Norwalk police say the pursuit started at 2:10 a.m. when an officer saw a minor equipment violation on the minivan as it was traveling on West Avenue. They say a computer then indicated the van’s license plates as stolen, and the officer caught up with the van on I-95 South.

The van sped off when the officer turned his lights and sirens on, according to police. They say the officer ended the pursuit when he saw a construction zone was ahead, but De Los Santos continued on and crashed.

De Los Santos is charged with four counts of second-degree assault with a motor vehicle, engaging in pursuit, DUI, reckless operation, possession of stolen registration plate, misuse of plates, driving without a license, and other motor vehicle crimes. His bond was set at $50,000 and he’s due in court on September 8.

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