First on 3: Couple caught in Tolland street takeover speaks out

Published: May. 23, 2023 at 4:08 PM EDT
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TOLLAND, CT (WFSB) - Eyewitness News talked to the couple caught in the middle of the Tolland street takeover.

Dennis and Stephanie Sargisian shared what happened during those frightening moments.

They had dinner with some friends Sunday night. As they were heading home, they drove into the takeover, not knowing what it was.

A minute later the group was kicking their car and smashing mirrors.

Dennis regrets getting out of his car, hoping to reason with the mob.

“I should never have gotten out of the car. that was a mistake,” Dennis said.

He was protecting his wife, Stephanie, trying to get her home safe after a fun night out.

“I was hysterical. In the video I look like I think I’m in shock,” said Stephanie.

The group was hostile and combative.

Within seconds of being caught in the street takeover, Dennis and Stephanie said the mob attacked.

The group jumped on their car, kicking it and breaking mirrors. There are dents all over their classic Toyota MR2 Spyder.

“I’m worried for other people. Every time I see a new video I’m more surprised by the aggressiveness of this group,” Stephanie said.

After a couple of minutes of beating down on their car, the group cleared space for Dennis and Stephanie.

They drove a couple miles away, pulled over and called police.

Stephanie is still emotional.

“I wasn’t really saying anything except I want to go home. When we left that’s when I lost it,” she said.

State police arrested Jefferson Duron, the alleged ringleader of the takeover.

Jefferson Duron.
Jefferson Duron.(Connecticut State Police)

But Dennis and Stephanie believe these violent takeovers will continue.

“I wanted to talk to you to because it’s spring. This is just going to get worse. People got killed last year when this was happening. No matter what town you’re in it can come to your town and you have to be careful,” said Stephanie.

There have been aggressive takeovers in Bristol, Simsbury and New Haven.

The skid marks on Route 195 in Tolland are still there.

“It’s a gang, it’s a gang. Let’s call it what it is. It’s a gang. Domestic terrorists. I don’t know. This is not what a car community is supposed to be,” Dennis and Stephanie said.

The car is also very sentimental for Stephanie. Her father gave it to her.

Every panel of the car is damaged, along with the mirrors and the roof.

They’re glad they weren’t hurt.