AP NEWS

Trial begins of driver charged with death of woman in Stamford

January 30, 2019

STAMFORD-The bench trial of a man charged with felony misconduct with a motor vehicle began Tuesday with the husband of the woman killed in the accident taking the stand.

Rafael Escobar-Acosta said that after he and his wife was struck by a Ford Explorer on Hope Street on October, 18, 2014, the driver of the Explorer Victor Medina-Fajardo, 37, of Stamford, jumped out of the vehicle and came running over to him.

Under questioning by Medina-Fajardo’s defense attorney, Darnell Crosland, Escobar-Acosta, 32, said he never even saw the car that hit him.

Right after the accident, Escobar-Acosta said Medina-Fajardo came out of the Ford screaming and holding his face. “What did I do. What did I do. I killed somebody,” Escobar-Acosta testified hearing him say right after the crash. Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Mitchell Ruben is prosecuting the case for the state.

Medina-Fajardo was released following his arrest after posting a $5,000 court appearance bond.

After striking Escobar-Acosta, the Explorer also struck his wife, Angela Lopez, 34, pinning her against a food truck the two were putting gasoline into when they were hit at about 7:30 that morning.

Walking through the scene, the investigating officers found a large amount of body fat and body material on the ground near the impact between the two vehicles, according to Medina-Fajardo’s arrest affidavit.

The force of the impact between the two vehicles was enough to tear or rupture the flesh enough that body fat or other bodily material from below the skin was expelled in the surrounding area, the affidavit said.

Lopez was pronounced dead at Stamford Hospital two hours later.

Escobar-Acosta explained that they had just run out of gas and pulled the food truck over as far to the right as he could. He then got gas and with his wife was about to refuel the truck when the accident happened.

According to the Stamford police department’s Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Squad, Medina-Fajardo said he was working an overnight shift delivering newspapers. He said while driving southboundhe thought on Hope Street, he was getting too close to the vehicles on the right and moved over a little as he came up to where the crash happened at the intersection of Hyde Street.

But that did not explain why Medina Fajardo went so far over the double yellow line and into the northbound lane. Under further questioning, Medina-Fajardo said he remembered seeing the food truck, but did not remember hitting it.

Then Medina-Fajardo said he may have actually fallen asleep at the wheel. He said he had been working since midnight and he usually sleeps a few hours before his shift. But on the night before the crash, he was talking to his wife by telephone in Peru and did not get any sleep, the affidavit said.

The trial, which does not involve a jury and is being decided by Judge Richard Comerford, continues Wednesday.

jnickerson@stamfordadvocate.com