MERIDEN — A city foster father faces new charges in connection with a car crash that led to a teen’s death at the end of September.
James Bailey, 65, of 111 Milton Drive, was charged with manslaughter in the second degree, manslaughter in the second degree with a motor vehicle, operating under the influence, first-degree reckless endangerment and reckless driving when he appeared for his arraignment at Meriden Superior Court Tuesday. A prosecutor filed those charges in place of his original charges.
He was initially charged with driving under the influence, reckless driving, first-degree reckless endangerment and second-degree assault with a motor vehicle.
Bailey is currently released on $200,000 bond. Outside of the courthouse Tuesday Bailey did not respond to a request for comment about the incident. He was accompanied by about a dozen supporters who refused to comment after the appearance.
Attorney Theresa Dinardi is representing Bailey and declined to comment about the case.
Alex Medina, 17, died earlier this month after being thrown from the backseat of an SUV driven by his foster father Bailey, crashed into a utility pole just after 11 a.m. on Sept. 30.
Police say Bailey was drunk at the time and driving at high speed. Medina was not wearing a seatbelt.
A relative and family friend of Medina’s family said they were at court Tuesday to show support for Medina’s family and said they just want justice.
Bailey failed field sobriety tests and had a blood alcohol level of one and a half times the legal limit of .08, said Lt. Thomas Cossette. Joel Young, a front seat passenger, was taken to MidState Medical Center for treatment of minor injuries.
Medina struck his head on a utility pole when he was ejected from the vehicle. He was flown to Hartford Hospital by LifeStar helicopter and admitted to the Intensive Care Unit in critical condition.
Medina died on Oct. 3.
He was a junior at Maloney High School.
Department of Children and Families Commissioner Vannessa Dorantes released a statement at the time of the incident saying the department is reviewing its involvement and Medina’s placement in the foster home.
Bailey’s case was continued to Nov. 12.
According to the Hartford Courant, the Baileys were a licensed therapeutic foster care home which meant social workers and therapists visited the home more frequently. Children in therapeutic placement have major trauma or have other behavioral or medical needs and the family received about $1,666 per month.
Patty Gwara appeared in court Tuesday with a relative of Medina’s biological mother. Gwara said a Maloney school nurse had called the Bailey family requesting that Medina be picked up due to illness. Maloney High School would not confirm the report but stated all students are signed out by a parent or guardian, except for some seniors in honors programs.
“He was at the chapter of his life when he could have made his own choices,” Gwara said. “Two families are going to lose two family members. It’s a lose-lose situation.”