HARTFORD – The teenager accused of driving a stolen car and hitting a Hartford woman last month appeared in Hartford Superior Court Tuesday.
Deykevious Russaw is facing several charges, including manslaughter, for the hit-and-run accident that occurred on July 18, his 18th birthday.
According to the State’s Attorney, he was involved in a homicide two days prior. Russaw is also a suspect in the fatal shooting July 16 of 63-year-old Jeff Worrell, a maintenance man shot as he sat in a Hartford park. Police said he was an innocent bystander.
Right now, he is being tried as a juvenile in that case and records are sealed. He was in jail for those charges when he was connected to the hit-and-run.
According to his arrest warrant, police made the connection through surveillance video and an anonymous tip. Russaw initially denied involvement, but later admitted to being behind the wheel that day and hitting Rosella Shuler, 56, on Sigourney Street as she waited at a Hartford bus stop.
Shuler, who lost both of her legs in the crash and later died at the hospital, was a mother of four and grandmother of nine. Several of her family members were in the courtroom Tuesday.
“She was a good person and she was a good person to her community,” said Jessica Vazquez, Shuler’s daughter.
Speaking about Russaw’s arrest, Vazquez said, “I’m just happy that he was caught and I’m happy that I’m able to have a little relief for my mom.”
Police say Russaw was in the car with five other people before the crash. They were driving a Toyota Highlander stolen out of West Hartford. The car was involved in a minor bus crash just minutes prior to the deadly hit and run. Surveillance video shows the car fleeing that scene, accelerating, traveling onto the sidewalk, hitting a fence and then hitting Shuler. The arrest warrant states she was launched approximately 47 feet through the air.
The warrant states, “It should be noted as these individuals, including the operator, fled the scene, they ran past Shuler’s body as she lay motionless on the pavement.”
In court Tuesday, the State’s Attorney spoke to the serious nature of this crime and said she would have asked that Russaw be tried as an adult in this case even if he was still legally under 18. She said it’s representative of the serious problem Hartford is facing with young people stealing cars and causing people harm, in this case death.
Shuler’s family said they are hoping the other five people in the car will be caught and face charges as well.
“People if you’re out there, if you know the other five, just come forth and give their names," she said. "Just for justice for her. She would deserve this. She would want this.”
Russaw is being held on $2.5M bail. Russaw's family and attorney had no comment.