Police, possible connection between teen drowning in Waterbury and deadly crash in NY
WATERBURY, CT (WFSB) - Investigators are trying to connect the recent incident of a teen drowning in Waterbury to a deadly crash happening over state lines.
The situation that unfolded in Waterbury happened Tuesday afternoon.
A deadly crash in New York state involving a Connecticut teen and a Connecticut stolen car.
This new information has police in the Empire State zeroed in the brass city.
The discovery of two stolen cars in a Waterbury neighborhood led to this ordeal on Tuesday.
Police arrested 3 teens found sitting in one of the cars, reported stolen out of Ridgefield, CT.
17-year-old Benjamin Payton Jr., who was also in the car, drowned while running from the officers.
Waterbury police said the second stolen car found was taken out of Millerton, NY just over the Connecticut border.
Millerton was around 25 miles away from Rhinebeck, NY where early Tuesday morning a man was killed in a wrong way crash.
Dutchess County police said the driver responsible was a 14-year-old in a car stolen from North Canaan, CT.
New York police said they’ve been holding the 14-year old since Tuesday morning’s crash.
The 14-year old wasn’t at the scene playing out in Waterbury Tuesday afternoon.
However, New York investigators said it was possible that all the teens could have known each other.
“It is possible that the groups are related,” said Captain john Watterson, Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office. “The fact that a New York car stolen from New York was found, either at the scene or close to the scene in Waterbury, is part of it and the other part of it is the M.O. fits. We really think that there is a link to those 2 situations.”
Waterbury Police Chief Fernando Spagnolo said his ranks focused on the brass city incident, but kept the Millerton stolen car on their radar.
“We have been in contact with investigators from New York regarding that particular car,” Spagnolo said.
The victim of the Rhinebeck crash was identified as 49-year old army veteran Jonathan Leich.
A friend of Leich’s, Noel Ortiz, said, “senseless really, senseless.”
Leich survived a tour in Iraq just to be killed in an ongoing trend of interstate teenage car theft.
Ortiz continued, “very outgoing, lovable guy, and it drives me crazy that he’s no longer with us.”
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