CAUGHT ON CAMERA: Suspect in custody after he drove into deadly crash investigation

Suspect in custody after he drove into Waterbury deadly crash scene
Published: Nov. 1, 2022 at 8:40 PM EDT|Updated: Nov. 2, 2022 at 12:37 PM EDT
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WATERBURY, CT (WFSB) – A deadly crash investigation in Waterbury erupted into chaos when another vehicle plowed into the crash scene.

Police provided an update around 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

Police said it started in the area of 62 Chase Ave around 7:10 p.m. on Tuesday.

A 42-year-old man was hit and killed at the intersection of Chase Avenue and Hill Street.

While investigators were on that scene, another driver drove through the police scene and smashed into a police cruiser.

See another view of the incident below (WARNING: VIDEO MAY HAVE STRONG LANGUAGE):

The 42-year-old pedestrian was pronounced dead at the hospital. He has been identified as Merton Lawmore, 42, of New Milford.

Authorities said Chase Avenue was closed from Hill Street to North Main Street.

Investigators were spotted combing the scene for evidence.

A large crowd of people gathered to see what happened.

That’s when the second driver went right through the middle of the scene while cameras were rolling.

Investigators threw flashlights at the car, but the driver backed up right into a police cruiser. Heavy damage was reported.

The driver made it about five miles before crashing into an apartment building on Bradley Avenue.

Waterbury Police Cruiser
Waterbury Police Cruiser(WFSB)

Officers said they found heroin in the car and saw the suspect throw a bag of heroin out of the car on Highland Avenue.

Police identified the suspect as 35-year-old Myrice Hodge.

Waterbury police said Hodge was taken into custody.

Police said Hodge is a known gang member with a long criminal record in Connecticut and New York.

Hodge was out on bond for a different crime Naugatuck police arrested him for back in 2020.

Waterbury Police Chief Fernando Spagnolo said Hodge is a kind of criminal he and his officers see all the time: repeat offenders involved with the judicial system.

A first-person view shows the moment police say Myrice Hodge drove through the scene of a deadly crash on Chase Avenue.

The view from our camera a little down the road, showing officers even resorting to throwing flashlights to stop the car.

This would start a nearly 6-mile chase to a condo complex on Bradley Avenue.

That’s where officers got Hodge into custody.

Hodge was charged with two counts of criminal attempt at assault first-degree, seven counts of reckless endangerment first-degree, two counts of evading responsibility, engaging police in pursuit, operating an unregistered motor vehicle, insufficient insurance, operating without a license, interfering with an officer, and possession of narcotics with intent to sell.

“This is less than a month after two officers were killed in Bristol when they were reporting to their duties,” said the state’s attorney’s prosecutor.

Hodge’s bond was set at $750,000.

“Another prime example of a person we’ve been talking about for some time now,” said Spagnolo.

Spagnolo said this is part of a bigger crime trend.

Police are seeing the same repeat offenders for crimes and other incidents, while they’re out on something like bond.

He says it’s causing crime numbers to go up.

Police data shows as of the end of September, violent crime is up more than 34-percent.

“These pre-adjudication people are, are really what we’re seeing here, a significant factor in a lot of violence occurring here in Waterbury. The uptick in shootings, the uptick in homicides, the uptick in people failing to obey for officers when they’re investigating a violent crime,” Spagnolo said.

Police data shows overall crime is up only 5-percent.

Spagnolo said the violent crime task force they’re a part of with state and federal officers expanded today, now including officers from towns surrounding Waterbury.

Police asked anyone with information about both incidents to give them a call.

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A deadly crash investigation in Waterbury erupted into chaos when another vehicle plowed into the crash scene.
A 42-year-old man was struck and killed at Chase Avenue and Hill Street in Waterbury. That was followed by another driver plowing into the scene.
An area in Waterbury is closed to traffic Tuesday night after a deadly crash involving a pedestrian.