DANBURY — A former Danbury police officer has been charged with reckless driving in connection with a crash of a stolen vehicle in December 2016 that caused the death of a 26-year-old woman.
Officer Jaime Hodge was working a private duty traffic control job when he observed a Ford Explorer he recognized to be stolen, as it was passing him. According to the warrant, Hodge got into his private vehicle, a Chevy Tahoe, and followed the Explorer. When it stopped at a light, Hodge got out and tried to identify the driver. Police said the driver of the Explorer took off, drove around several other vehicles and jumped a curb. Hodge returned to his Tahoe and went around several vehicles at the intersection to continue to follow him and called in a possible stolen vehicle. Police said he said he lost sight of the Explorer.
The Explorer eventually crashed on Mountain Road. Ricardo Andre, 32, of Danbury, was driving the Explorer as it left the roadway, hit a traffic sign and then kept driving while straddling the roadway and shoulder. The Explorer eventually hit a utility pole, then drove over a private driveway before rolling over on the grass and coming to a stop in a driveway. Andre was taken to the hospital with a serious injury. A female passenger, Tiffany Fitzgerald, 26, of Danbury, was taken to the hospital with a serious injury, but died on several days later. The Connecticut Medical Examiner said the cause of Fitzgerald’s death was “blunt injury.” Hodge came upon the scene moments after the crash.
The State’s Attorney’s Office requested that State Police join the investigation, along with Danbury Police. Hodge was charged with reckless driving and will appear in court on Aug 22. Police say Hodge resigned from Danbury Police in March 2017.
In December, Danbury Police arrested Andre on three outstanding warrants for charges including first-degree reckless endangerment, interfering with police and resisting arrest, reckless driving, engaging police in a pursuit and larceny. He was also charged with failure to appear in court for some of those charges.