Driver Charged In Crash That Killed Two Children Appearing In Court

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MERIDEN — The identities of two children killed in a weekend crash have been released as the driver police say is responsible heads to court.

Siblings Tatiana Cruz, 5, and Lorenzo Cruz, 8 died when Israel Gonzalez crashed his GMC Denali SUV into the back of a Subaru Legacy, police said. Gonzalez is scheduled to be arraigned Monday in Superior Court in Meriden.

A third child, 12-year-old, Alejandro Schroder, was critically injured in the crash early Sunday. Also injured were the parents, Michael Cruz and Gina Schroder. Tatiana and Lorenzo were their biological children; Alejandro is Schroder’s son and Michael Cruz’s stepson.

Speed and alcohol are believed to be factors in the crash, which left the Subaru a crumpled heap of metal.

Gonzalez, 29, of Ann Street, faces felony evading responsibility, reckless driving and driving without a license charges. Meriden police were holding him Sunday on $1 million bail.

Police expect to file more charges against Gonzalez. They are seeking a search warrant to obtain his blood alcohol content from the hospital where he was treated after the crash.

The crash occurred about 2 a.m. Sunday, police said, when Gonzalez’s northbound Denali crashed into the Subaru, which was stopped at a red light on Broad Street at Gale Avenue.

“It’s horrible, said Gary Horvath, who lives near the scene of the crash. “Especially with two young lives lost. It’s awful.”

Police said they might be able to release the names of those killed and injured on Monday morning.

After the crash, police said, Gonzalez ran from the scene and was found in a nearby home. He had multiple identification cards on him at the time of his arrest, and police said they did not initially know who he was.

Police continue to investigate the crash and ask that witnesses or anyone with information contact Officer Donna Zurstadt at 203-630-6258.

A memorial has been placed at the scene of the crash. Stuffed animals and a candle surround a traffic signal pole just a few feet from where the crash occurred.

Neighbors said they heard a large crash and screaming immediately after the impact, but did not know the family.

Courant and Fox CT staff reports

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