New Milford police hope to make an arrest soon in hit-and-run fatality case
New Milford police officials have spent much of the week preparing an arrest warrant application for the person allegedly responsible in the June 3 hit-and-run accident that took the life of Donald Hassiak, a Danbury police officer and New Milford resident.
Capt. Michael Mrazik, a spokesman for the New Milford Police Department, said an arrest warrant application had been submitted to the prosecutor's office earlier this week, but the document was returned to investigators for some "for some additional work."
"We want to make sure that when the case moves forward, we have everything we need," Capt. Mrazik said Wednesday. "We are dotting the I's and crossing the T's."
Officer Hassiak, 41, was killed when he was hit by a car traveling southbound along Route 7 near the Brookfield line at around 10:30 p.m.
Officer Hassiak, who left behind a wife and three small children, was riding his bicycle on his way to work -- something family friends said that he did often during the warmer months.
Capt. Mrazik said Wednesday he hopes to have an arrest in the case soon.
He declined to comment on the identity of the suspect in the case, although several sources close to the investigation confirmed for The Greater New Milford Spectrum earlier this week that James O'Neill, 47, of Bethel, was a person of interest in the case.
Mr. O'Neill, who has not been charged in connection to the incident, was arrested last week and held on a $200,000 bond for allegedly leaving the scene of a May 28 accident in Bethel, according to court documents.
The records state Mr. O'Neill, a carpenter living at a construction site in Bethel, allegedly swerved into oncoming traffic on Route 58 in Bethel last month, forcing a car off the road and into a nearby wooded area, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.
No injuries were reported. He faces several charges for the alleged incident, including evading responsibility.
Mr. O'Neill was also sentenced this week to seven months in prison on a charge of interfering with police for an alleged run-in he had with Danbury police in May 2008.
Court records state that a Danbury police officer at the time observed a black Chevy El Camino driving at a high rate of speed along West Street in the city.
The driver of the vehicle, whom the officer later identified as Mr. O'Neill, ditched the car on Abbott Avenue and fled on foot, the court records state.
Mr. O'Neill had pleaded guilty under the Alford Doctrine to the interfering charge on May 10.