Monday, January 13, 2014

Connecticut DUI victim turns injuries into action

Shelley Merrill of Norwich poses next to an X-ray of her neck, showing some of the injuries she suffered after a drunk driver crashed into the vehicle in which she was a passenger in 2007.

By Michelle Tuccitto Sullo
Investigations Editor
Shelley Merrill said she had a near-death experience after a drunken driver crashed into her, but she survived with a new purpose — to share her ordeal to try to keep people from driving under the influence.
Merrill, of Norwich, is known professionally as “Shelly Martinez” a co-host on a WCTY radio morning show based in her hometown.
Merrill was a passenger in a truck on May 11, 2007, on Route 2 near the Preston and Norwich town lines, when a drunken driver who was trying to pass them clipped the left side of their vehicle. The impact sent their truck out of control, and it rolled over about five times.
“I remember being tossed, and I was in and out of consciousness,” Merrill said. “It happened so quickly. I felt bones break and my neck snap. I thought I was going to die.”
Merrill started to pray.

Read more here

This X-ray shows the damage to Shelley Merrill’s neck. Rods were put in after the accident to hold the bones in place. Merrill, of Norwich, was severely injured by a drunken driver in 2007. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

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No ‘magic bullet’ for preventing repeat DUI offenses

Ed Avery at the bus stop on Temple Street. He takes the bus to work at Walmart. Melanie Stengel — New Haven Register

By Charlotte Adinolfi
Register Staff
NEW HAVEN >> The last DUI charge Ed Avery received, he was riding on a scooter.
“I didn’t have a license, but I thought I could drive a scooter,” Avery said. “Since I didn’t have a license, I got a ticket.”
Avery, 58, and now living at the Roger Sherman House, a transitional halfway house for men discharged from the correctional system in New Haven, had lost his license after a charge of driving under the influence in 2004.
He received his fifth and last DUI charge in August 2010.
That September, Avery was sentenced to jail for four years.

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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Ruling in special education suit backs Connecticut school officials

By Michelle Tuccitto Sullo
Investigations Editor
 A federal appeals court has ruled in favor of the state Department of Education, concluding that it adequately complied with an agreement that called for intellectually disabled students to spend more time with their non-disabled peers.
The 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, in a ruling issued in late December, upheld the 2012 decision of U.S. District Court Judge Robert Chatigny.
The plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit known as the “P.J. case” claimed the state wasn’t doing enough to meet goals that both sides agreed upon when the case settled.

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Sunday, January 5, 2014

DUI program helps Connecticut offenders transition back to community

From left, Michelene Longo, correctional substance abuse counselor; Parole Officer Trudy Beaulieu; secretary Suzanne Kiniry; Parole Officer Dawn Rizzuto; Parole Officer Alan Piascik; Parole Manager Jennifer Bennett; Parole Officer Dave Skarzynski; Parole Officer Lushonda Howard; and Parole Officer Art Reardon of the Department of Correction’s DUI Unit are photographed at the Maloney Center for Training and Staff Development in Cheshire. Arnold Gold — New Haven Register

By Charlotte Adinolfi
Register Staff
All it took was a quick ride down the dirt road near his house.
Kenneth, 48, of New Hartford, had been having a few drinks while he was working on his children’s quad before he decided to take the quad for a ride.
Somewhere along that road was a cop.
The officer pulled over Kenneth and arrested him on drunken driving charges.
Kenneth said if he had reached the 10-year mark and had not received any other offenses, his previous two DUI charges would not have been counted against him when he received that third offense.
“Unfortunately, I had gotten two prior to the 10-year mark,” Kenneth said. “I was six months away from it, not even. They took everything and ran it all together.”
Kenneth was sentenced to 16 months in prison.

Read the full story here.

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Repeat DUI offender leaves Trumbull man in daily pain

Vincent Ramaglia at his home in Trumbull by a photograph of the crumpled remains of a 1992 Honda Civic he was driving on June 1, 2011, when a drunken driver hit him. Arnold Gold — New Haven Register

By Michelle Tuccitto Sullo
Investigations Editor
TRUMBULL >> Vincent Ramaglia was a typical teenager, just going out with friends for ice cream, when a drunken driver crashed into him, inflicting injuries that cause him pain even today.
Ramaglia, now 21 and a senior at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, was 18 at the time of the June 1, 2011, crash in Trumbull.
Ramaglia had just enjoyed dinner with friends. On the way to a Trumbull ice cream shop, Ramaglia pulled over and parked to talk with one of his friends.
Seconds later, he heard a noise, turned and saw a car speeding over a median toward the woods. The car crashed into another vehicle, then ricocheted toward Ramaglia’s car, where he sat in the driver’s seat.

Read more here.

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