Driver in fatal Meriden crash faces manslaughter charges

Driver in fatal Meriden crash faces manslaughter charges


Israel Gonzalez | (Photo from the Meriden Police Department)

MERIDEN — The man arrested following a Nov. 3 car crash that killed two children faces additional charges that include manslaughter and operating a motor vehicle under the influence.

Israel Gonzalez, 29, will be charged with two counts of manslaughter in the second degree with a motor vehicle, three counts of assault in the second degree with a motor vehicle and operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs when he appears in Superior Court on Nov. 18, according to a statement from police spokesman Lt. Sal Nesci.

Gonzalez had a blood alcohol level more than three times the legal limit, Nesci said. Driving with a level of .08 or higher is considered illegal. The State Attorney’s office declined to comment until Gonzalez appears on Nov. 18 and charges are officially filed.

Shortly before 2 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 3, Michael Cruz was driving his family’s Subaru with his wife, Gina Schroder in the passenger’s seat. In the back seat sat his stepson, Alejandro Cruz, 12, and their children Tatiana Cruz, 5, and Lorenzo Cruz, 8.

Stopped at a red light at the intersection of Broad Street and Gale Avenue, heading north, the Subaru was struck by Gonzalez in his GMC Denali, according to police. Gonzalez was accused of fleeing the scene and already faces felony charges of evading responsibility, as well as reckless driving without a license. Police found Gonzalez hiding in a nearby house.

Tatiana and Lorenzo Cruz, students at Israel Putnam School, were killed in the crash. Michael and Alejandro Cruz and Gina Schroder were taken to the hospital for injuries.

Anyone with information on the crash is asked to contact Lt. Thomas Cossette at (203) 630-6256.

The family of Tatiana and Lorenzo Cruz are holding a remembrance night and fundraiser at Chaz’s Place, 157 Broad St. on Saturday, Nov. 16 at 8 p.m. that includes live music and raffles. Proceeds will go to the family of the victims. Those who attend are asked to wear orange or red, which were the children’s favorite colors.

Reporter Lauren Sievert contributed to this report. 203-317-2266 Twitter: @DanBrechlinRJ

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