SOUTHINGTON – The driver in a fatal crash last year is scheduled to appear in court Thursday as the victims' family is making plans to sue Southington police.
Police arrested Michael Luponio, of Southington, in February. He will appear in court for a pretrial hearing Wednesday, accused of speeding and driving drunk before crossing the center line and striking a vehicle and killing a two girls and injuring two others.
On Sunday, December 13, 2015, just after 12:30 a.m. police were called to a two-car crash on Middle Street in the area of Pinebrook Terrace. Two children were killed in the collision, Veronica Martinez, 7, and Yvette Martinez, 4, of Meriden. The girls’ mother, Kayla Torres, and her cousin Miguel Melendez were seriously injured.
Court documents say Southington Police Officer Matthew Vose witnessed Luponio speeding by him, but did not pursue the vehicle. Luponio’s arrest warrant also details a witness’s account of several road rage incidents with Luponio prior to the crash. That witness reportedly flagged down Officer Vose to tell him what happened.
Vose told investigators he saw the speeding vehicle and turned on his cruise lights on his emergency light bar to try to get the driver to slow down. The affidavit states, “He did not pursue it as the speed violation was minor and he did not want to pursue it outside of his jurisdiction.”
Melendez’s intent to sue paperwork states Vose didn't notify Bristol Police that the vehicle was entering their jurisdiction.
Chief John Daly, the Southington Police Department and the Town of Southington are also named on the paperwork for failure to “institute appropriate pursuit policies” and failure to “properly train its officers in the protection of the public to prevent injuries, damages and death.”
Melendez, who suffered serious injuries, plans to sue for physical and emotional damages resulting from the crash.
Southington Police told FOX 61 the department doesn't comment on pending litigation.