Holiday Weekend Saw Two Deadly Motorcycle Crashes, Shooting Death and Rescue of Dog in Overheated Car 

State and New Fairfield police rescued a Yorkie from a hot car on Monday afternoon


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Connecticut State Police reported a fairly typical number of accidents, tickets and DUI arrests over the long holiday weekend, including two fatal motorcycle crashes on Sunday. 

Other incidents included a fatal shooting at a large party in Hartford and the rescue of a dog in an overheated car in New Fairfield. 

From midnight July 1 to midnight July 4, troopers responded to 299 accidents, handed out 910 violations and arrested 50 drivers suspected of being under the influence. Nearly 650 of the violations were for speeding. 

Last year’s holiday weekend saw 381 accidents and three associated fatalities, along with 978 violations that included 483 for speeding and 26 for DUI. 

In 2020, there were 271 accidents with one death, 748 traffic violations and 29 DUI arrests.

Hartford police are investigating the city’s 22nd homicide this year – the fatal shooting of a 22-year-old city resident Jayla Heaven at a large house party on Shultas Place that also injured a man at about 2 a.m. Monday. 

Police said the shooting came after some sort of altercation, and that the victims apparently were not the intended targets of the attack. No arrests have been made as of Tuesday afternoon. 

There were two fatal motorcycle crashes on Sunday afternoon. 

At about 3:20 p.m., 59-year-old Jason Kline, of Trumbull, was killed when his motorcycle crashed into the rear of a car he was following on Route 8 northbound in Shelton near Exit 12, throwing him off the bike. 

No other injuries were reported. 

In Norfolk, a 22-year-old man died when his motorcycle struck a stone wall along Route 44 just after 4 p.m. the same day.

Nicholas Ponzi, of Torrington, was riding his motorcycle east near the intersection of Route 272 when he failed to negotiate a right-hand turn and drove straight into the wall. The crash is under investigation. 

State police also reported that two Bridgeport men died in a crash on I-95 in Milford just before 7 p.m. on Thursday. 

Delroy St. Morris, 28, and Tashane Boothe, 30, were killed when a car driven by St. Morris swerved from the left to center lane and struck two other vehicles, causing their car to become airborne before striking concrete bridge overpass pillars near Exit 36, ejecting both men.

None of the other drivers or passengers were injured. 

On Monday, troopers and New Fairfield police smashed out a window of a car to rescue a small dog that a witness reported was locked in a car parked at a business with its windows rolled up as the temperature reached 82 degrees just before 2 p.m.

Police said they did not know how long the Yorkie was unattended in the car, but was in distress when it was removed and brought into an air-conditioned police cruiser, where it quickly recovered. 

The local animal-control officer took custody of the dog, and police on Tuesday said the incident remains under investigation. They did not identify the owner of the car. 

Police did not say how hot it was inside the car, but noted that with an outside temperature of 85 degrees, the interior of a car can reach 100 degrees within 7-10 minutes.

Steve Jensen

Steve Jensen was a journalist for 13 years with the Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer of Manchester before becoming a Communications Director for the State of Connecticut. Jensen covers politics and law enforcement for CT Examiner. T: 860 661-6404