NORWICH, Conn. (WTNH)– A 74-year-old man was killed in a car crash that happened during a police chase in Norwich, early Sunday morning.
Police say at around 2:17 a.m., officers attempted to stop a suspected intoxicated driver, who was driving erratically on West Thames Street. The driver, later identified as 35-year-old Cory Long, of Hartford, did not stop for police and brief pursuit was initiated.
“I saw them he came around me and he took off and then cops follow right behind him. Once the cops followed right behind him they were just speeding,” says Darnell Toles who was on West Thames when he watched the pursuit begin and then head into downtown Norwich.
“Once I saw the car swerving back and forth that the police was chasing I knew that he wasn’t going to get that far,” says Toles.
Long then traveled on to East Main Street, before striking a curb on the eastbound lane. This forced the car to lose control and move into the on coming westbound lane of East Main Street. That’s when the car collided head on with another vehicle in the westbound lane that was stopped at a traffic signal.
The two occupants of that car, identified as 72-year-old Carol Jean Richter, of New Milford, and 74-year-old Thomas Allan Richter, of Southbury, were taken to William W. Backus hospital for their injuries. Thomas later died at the hospital.
Long, and his passenger, 35-year-old Isaiah Lee, of Groton, were also taken to the hospital for non-life threatening injuries sustained in the crash.
“It was hit head on and the red car spinned like this and the gray car came right beside it and then hit the side rail,” says Toles who went to the crash scene and put video of it on his facebook page.
Because the accident happened during a police pursuit state police are also investigating using the statewide pursuit policy as a guide.
“That’s really what they will be judged by is the reasonableness of the pursuit, what factors came in to play, and all those things will be looked at,” says State Police spokesperson Trooper Tyler Weerden.
As this point no arrests have been made. State police will determine if there will be charges related to the crash and Norwich police will determine if there will be charges related to the incident leading up to the pursuit.
Police ask anyone who may have witnessed the crash to contact troopers at 203-630-8085.