Video clip leads to arrests in Naugatuck hit and run

NOGATUCK — When a dark-colored sedan was run over by a Naugatuck interrupter in a car burglary one summer morning, law enforcement scoured the neighborhood looking for surveillance video footage, according to an arrest warrant.

The man was seriously injured, lying unresponsive in a pool of his own blood. Several neighbors helped police and provided footage of the security systems in their homes, leading investigators to discover that the car was a Mercedes stolen from Massachusetts. The car was found abandoned in Hartford the next day, and through security footage again, a complicit car was discovered.

But the officers were only able to identify the suspects after they discovered a man connected to the incident.


The Naugatok Police Department announced Thursday that it has charged three Hartford men with the accident: the alleged driver, 24-year-old Dallas Diamond Rodriguez, and two passengers, 23-year-old John Carlos Santos and 22-year-old Tajay Gavon. Fisher man.

Officers were called to Alma Street at approximately 4:40 a.m. on July 12 for the hit-and-run operation. There, they found the victim, a 42-year-old Naugatuck man, lying in the middle of the road with a large pool of blood around his upper body, according to Santos’ arrest warrant.

The man was “breathing longingly,” or gasping for air, and the officers could see his face and head injured. Officers began offering help, rolling the man onto his side and using shock bandages to try to slow the bleeding from the man’s head, the memo said.

Once the ambulance arrived, the man was taken to the Waterbury Hospital emergency room for further treatment. The hospital later told the police that the man had serious brain injuries and severe lung injuries. According to the memo, due to his critical condition and the severity of his injuries, the hospital did not expect the man to survive.

As of Friday, the victim is being treated at a long-term rehabilitation facility, police said.

The man’s friend told the police that she woke up when the man got out of bed and ran into his white van. When she looked out the window, she saw a black sedan speeding down the street and hitting the man, causing him to climb onto the hood and fall onto the road, according to the note.

Police obtained surveillance footage from several Alma Street residents, which showed a dark-colored sedan, later identified as a 2012 Mercedes CLS, heading east on the road at 4:35 a.m. At 4:36 a.m., video footage shows the exit of one Passengers of the vehicle are approaching the Nissan Sentra. The note said that police later noticed that this car had a smashed window like the truck had been damaged.

A neighbor’s surveillance camera captured the Mercedes parked in front of their home at 4:37 a.m., and the driver can be seen getting out of the car, climbing into the driveway of a nearby house, checking the door handles of two cars and returning to the sedan to continue west, according to the memo.

At 4:39 a.m., the suspects were looking out the windows of the victim’s truck. The victim ran outside to face the men and as he approached the sedan, the sedan accelerated and hit him, according to the note.

The memo said additional video showed the man landing on the road as the car fled west on Alma Street and turned left onto John Street at 4:40 a.m.

At the scene, police noticed two bottles smashed out of the truck’s windows with what appeared to be a tool. His girlfriend told the police that the man usually did not keep anything of value in his truck except for electrical tools. The note said police were not sure if anything had been taken from the car.

Police received multiple reports later in the morning of car break-ins during the night on the west side of the city. The memo said the windows were shattered by a small object of squinting and that objects inside the vehicles appeared to have been “searched through” or missing.

Investigators obtained video footage from the area that “showed the same black Mercedes roaming the neighborhoods” at around 3 a.m. With this video, police determined that the vehicle was a Mercedes CLS from 2010. After alerting other agencies, the Hartford Police Department found the vehicle. Mercedes unmanned 2012 on Wyndham Street. The memo said the car was stolen from Springfield, Massachusetts, earlier that month.

The Mercedes was towed, and when the police went to look at the car, they saw that it had a cracked windshield, damage to the front bumper and bumpers and scratches or dents on the hood. Police said the damage was “consistent with a vehicle hitting a pedestrian,” according to the memo.

Police determined, through photos and videos from the Hartford Police Department’s Intelligence Division, that the Mercedes was damaged after July 10. Officers also confiscated physical evidence from the vehicle, including the electronic control unit that could have stored historical data on the vehicle, according to the memo.

Investigators later returned to Wyndham Street to survey the area. Video footage captured nearby showed that the Mercedes was parked on the street around 5:15 a.m. and the driver, who appeared to be the same driver in Alma Street sections, got into a waiting silver Subaru SUV, according to the memo.

On August 23, a Southington police officer assigned to the Hartford Regional Greater Motor Task Force went to Manchester to interview Hunter, who was suspected of multiple vehicle burglaries and theft of catalytic converters in Southington and across the state. Task force members had been watching Hunter for several months and noticed that he was running several cars, including a silver 2010 Subaru Outback, according to the memo.

In an interview, the police asked Hunter about the black Mercedes used in the hit-and-run. At first, he was unaware of the car, but officers showed him a surveillance photo of a Subaru picking up suspects on Wyndham Street, and Hunter admitted he removed Rodriguez and Santos from the Mercedes, according to the memo.

Hunter also told police he was in the stolen car when it hit the victim, according to the memo.

That night, Rodriguez drove Santos and Hunter to Waterbury, and later to Naugatuck to break into cars. It was estimated that the group broke into over 20 cars in Naugatuck that night and stole between $300 and $500 worth of cars, according to the memo.

Hunter said another man he called “Jose” was in the back seat with him that night. But the memo said the police had not identified the man.

The memo said Hunter, who was allegedly asleep in the back seat, woke up when Rodriguez pointed at the white van on Alma Street.

Rodriguez got out of the Mercedes and asked for a screwdriver. Hunter, who served briefly as an observer, noticed a television set inside and told Rodriguez to leave the truck alone. Once Rodriguez smashed the window, Hunter returned to the back seat of the Mercedes, according to the memo.

The victim then exited his home, causing Rodriguez and Santos to flee into the car. The man allegedly jumped over the hood of the Mercedes and accused them of stealing from his truck. Hunter, according to the memo, remembers punching the windshield, and Rodriguez “waving the Mercedes to the floor,” causing the man to fly over the hood and land on the curb, according to the memo.

When they drove off, Hunter looked up and told Rodriguez and Santos that the man wasn’t moving. The note said that he then looked away and asked them to take him home.

Rodriguez and Santos returned to Hunter’s house in the Mercedes and ordered him to take them after they got off the car on Wyndham Street.
Hunter told officers he saw it on Facebook that the man was seriously injured. When asked if he wanted to provide a written statement because Rodriguez had crossed the line, Hunter agreed, according to the memo.

“I felt bad for the man,” Hunter said in his sworn statement. The memo said Hunter told police that the incident “continues to bother him and the reason he kept it clean is for his children.”

Rodriguez, Santos and Hunter are charged with first-degree burglary, second-degree theft and seven counts of conspiracy to commit third-degree burglary and conspiracy to commit third-degree criminal mischief. Nogatoque police said Rodriguez was additionally charged with first-degree assault, reckless driving, evasion of responsibility and driving without a license.

Rodriguez was arrested Wednesday and is being held on $350,000 bail. Santos was arrested last week and is being held on $250,000 bail. Court records show that the two remain in custody. Nogatok police said Hunter was already in custody on unrelated charges.

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