$1 Million Bond Set For Accused In Fatal Meriden Crash

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Bond was set at $1 million in court Monday for a Meriden resident charged in connection with a fatal car accident that killed two children late Saturday night.

Superior Court Judge Phillip Scarpellino was adamant that bond not be reduced because he considers 29 year old Israel Gonzalez a flight risk for two primary reasons. First Gonzalez, who was driving without a license, is not a United States citizen. And, Gonzalez fled the scene of the accident.

“Every court date, I’m gonna make sure I’m here because he deserves to get hit the worst he can get hit with,” said David Valentin, an uncle of the two children.

The accident, which happened at approximately 2am Sunday,  killed five-year-old Tatiana Cruz and her eight-year-old brother, Lorenzo Cruz. Meanwhile, 12-year-old stepbrother Alejandro Schroder remains in serious condition at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.

Michael Cruz, the children’s father, has been released from the hospital. The children’s mother, Gina Schroder, remains in critical condition at Hartford Hospital.

This afternoon, the children’s’ paternal grandmother visited the accident scene for the first time.

“It’s very hard to come here. It’s very hard,” said a sobbing Deborah Pullum.

Many have asked why a family would be out so late at night with young children. It was simply continuing a family tradition of improvisation, added Pullum.

“Michael got this from when he was young. My husband and I, sometimes on the weekends, would get up and say ‘It’s 11 o’clock. We’re going to see a movie.’ We used to do things like that. You know, surprise the kids late at night.”

The family was returning home from a trip to Wal-Mart in Wallingford, where they went on a “food run” to purchase breakfast items for the next morning.


At Israel Putnam School, where the Cruz children were students, their classmates expressed to school counselors that they were afraid to get back in a car.

“I did a lot of talking about how this is an absolutely tragic event, but it’s also a rare occurrence. And, all of their parents do lots of things to make sure that they’re safe,” said Jason Andrade, a social worker at Israel Putnam.

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