Waterbury police ID girl, 7, as victim in fatal DUI crash
WATERBURY — A 7-year-old girl from Waterbury was identified as the victim of a fatal crash over the weekend that left the girl’s mother with a serious leg injury, according to police.
Lt. David Silverio said Serenity Mia-Lee Perez, 7, was killed in Sunday’s crash on Baldwin Street.
The girl’s mother, 29-year-old Yolanda Perez-Moreno, of Laval Street in Waterbury, remains hospitalized in stable condition as a rescovers from a serious leg injury, Silverio said, adding that Perez-Moreno is the mother of the girl who was killed.
Police responded to the area of 1037 Baldwin St. for a report of a crash involving pedestrian around 9:30 p.m. Sunday. Arriving officers found that a white Chevrolet van rear-ended a Honda CRV parked on the right side of the northboudn lane of Baldwin Street, Silverio said.
The crash impact pushed the Honda forward, hitting two pedestrian between the Honda and a third — also parked — vehicle. Silverio said a third pedestrian hit by the Honda was thrown to the sidewalk.
That third victim — identified by Silverio on Tuesday as 30-year-old George Reyes of Thomaston Avenue in Waterbury — is recovering at home. Silverio said Reyes suffered injuries to one of his hands, one of his arms and his lower back.
After the crash, the driver of the van — later identified by police as 39-year-old Luis Loja of Raymond Street in Waterbury — allegedly fled on foot, but witnesses followed him down Glen Street and “convinced him to return to the accident scene,” Silverio said.
Perez and Perez-Moreno were transported to St. Mary’s Hospital with serious, life-threatening injuries. Perez was pronounced dead at 10:16 p.m.
Reyes sought out medical treatment on his own for what police described as non-life-threatening injuries.
Silverio said the investigation indicated that Loja was “operating the van impaired by alcoholic beverage at the time of this accident.”
Loja was taken into custody and charged with operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, second-degree manslaughter with a motor vehicle, second-degree assault with a motor vehicle, evading responsibility in accident that resulted in death, operating an uninsured motor vehicle, improper use of a registration plate, operating a motor vehicle without a license, operating an unregistered motor vehicle and failure to drive in a proper lane.
He was held on a $750,000 bond.