Two mothers appeared before a Waterbury Superior Court judge Tuesday, accused of loading eight children into a five-person vehicle that then crashed.
Wolcott police said Jamie Madore was behind the wheel of a Ford Focus heading north on Woodtick Road around 7:30 p.m. on August 18. Elezebeth Farina was in the passenger seat.
Witnesses told police that Madore crossed the double yellow line to pass another vehicle and lost control.
“She was definitely traveling at a minimum speed of 50 mph. She pulled out to pass another car and backed up, which is what caused her to lose control of the car, go off the road and overturn it,” said Wolcott Police Chief Edward Stephens.
Eight children were in the vehicle with the women. Six of the children belong to Farina and two to Madore. According to an arrest warrant, four children were in the back seat, two of them sharing a seat, and four children in the tailgate, where there are no seat belts.
Police said one of the children in the tailgate, a 10-year-old boy, was thrown from the vehicle and landed under the car. He was seriously injured and spent 10 days in hospital, including four days in the intensive care unit. The other children had bumps and bruises, according to the arrest warrant.
“If they were about a meter to the left, they would have hit a telephone pole head-on,” Edwards said.
Good Samaritans stopped when they saw the accident and helped the occupants out of the car. Officers said they arrived and found the eight children on the side of the road covered in what appeared to be blood and mud.
“I mean, it was tragic to see something like that, especially with young children inside. We see a lot of accidents involving adults, but that many children in one accident was a lot,” Edwards said.
Police said Madore was coming from Farina’s home in Waterbury and was going to her home in Bristol to care for her cats. Farina told police that Madore pressured her to go with him.
“The driver wanted to go back to Bristol, because of a problem with her cat or her litter box,” Edwards explained. “It was a decision made by mothers that could have cost lives. Very, very serious. Throwing children into a car without a seat belt is terrible.
Madore, who must post $50,000 bail, faces numerous charges, including failure to use a child’s seat belt and reckless driving. Farina, who must post $20,000 bail, faces five counts of risk of injury to a minor.
Both cases continued into January and Madore’s case is being reviewed for possible transfer to the Part A court for more serious offenses.