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Student charged in fatal car crash
Quinnipiac senior Stacy Spivack was arrested on Sept. 9 and faces a series of charges relating to the fatal crash that killed a Quinnipiac junior earlier this year.
Spivack, from Muttontown, N.Y., was charged in violation of Connecticut State Statute of misconduct with a motor vehicle, failure to drive in the established lane, and traveling unreasonably fast. She was freed on $5,000 bail and she is due to appear in the Superior Court in Meriden on Sept. 30.
“The charge of misconduct with a motor vehicle is a class-D felony,” said Liutenant Richard Dunham of the Hamden Police Department. “Spivack can receive not less than one year, no more than five, and a fine of five thousand dollars.”
According to the arrest warrant, Spivack, who was traveling westbound on Sherman Avenue at 1:30 a.m. on Feb. 8, said something ran out of the woods in front of her 2001 Ford Explorer. She said she swerved to avoid the object and in doing so she lost control of her vehicle.
Besides the driver, there were five other Quinnipiac passengers, four in the back seat and one in the front right passenger seat. The four passengers in the back, Justin Fletcher, Mike Karpenski, Frank Mullady, and Keri Schroeder, suffered injuries. The front seat passenger, Jessica Gambon, a 21-year-old criminal justice major, died from injuries caused by the crash.
Spivack, who was 20-years-old at the time of the accident, had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.098 from blood drawn that morning at 3 a.m. This level is just below the legal limit of 0.10 for the state of Connecticut.
Officer James Mills of the Hamden Police Department was at the scene of the accident and led the investigation about the crash.
According to the arrest warrant, Mills looked inside the vehicle for the registration and insurance paperwork and when he did, he found a 750 ml bottle of Bacardi rum with approximately a quarter of it left. The bottle was seized as evidence and put in the property room at the police station.
Police said the vehicle rolled over several times and landed in the driveway of Utility Communications at 925 Sherman Ave.
The vehicle crossed over the double yellow line into the eastbound lanes, went partially up on the south curb and then came back off the curb. Once off the curb the vehicle went back toward the westbound lane at which point the vehicle flipped over onto its roof. The vehicle slid along the westbound travel lane until it hit the north curb of Sherman Ave.
According to the arrest warrant, the vehicle became airborne after hitting the curb and continued flipping/rolling until coming to rest on its wheels. During the process of the vehicle flipping/rolling Gambon was ejected out of the closed front right passenger window and her body came to rest in front of the vehicle. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
In the arrest warrant, Mills said he spoke with the passengers and they all said they had been drinking at Club Risk in New Haven.
The students said after leaving the club, they returned back to Hamden via the highway. Once back in Hamden they said they went northbound on Whitney Avenue and stopped at a convenience store located near Mt. Carmel Avenue After leaving the store they went south on Whitney Avenue and then turned right onto Sherman Avenue and continued traveling until the collision occurred.
Mills was able to determine that Spivack’s vehicle was traveling between 59 and 62 mph when she initially lost control. The posted speed in the area of the collision was 40 mph.
Sherman Avenue is a road that other students take to get to and from school and some regard the road as dangerous.
“On the straightaways it’s really easy to go fast on [Sherman Avenue], but on the curves it can be dangerous because the road isn’t well lit at night, there are lots of potholes and the curves are really sharp,” said Adam Blumberg, who lives on Mix Avenue and drives this road every day to and from Quinnipiac. “You really can’t take them at more than 40 mph. I don’t feel very safe doing it, especially since I drive an SUV and they tend to flip over.”
The arrest warrant said Mills was contacted by a private investigator, Ronald Betterly, who was hired by Spivack’s attorney to investigate the collision. Betterly informed Mills that the Spivack family was more than willing to cooperate with the police, and he said he would pass on his request to get an interview with Spivack, but Mills was never contacted by anyone regarding an interview.
Mills declined to comment further on the investigation and Spivack could not be reached for comment.
See page 3 for Blood Alcohol Concentration in states.