Meriden man sentenced to two-and-a-half years in 2017 fatal crash on I-91

Meriden man sentenced to two-and-a-half years in 2017 fatal crash on I-91

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NORTH HAVEN — A Meriden man pleaded no contest to a manslaughter charge in connection with a wrong way crash on Interstate 91 in 2017 that killed another driver. He was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison. 

Darwin Duchitanga-Quitutuizaca, 33, of 81 Goodwill Ave., Meriden, was charged on March 25, 2018 with second-degree manslaughter, driving the wrong way on a divided highway, and driving with a suspended license. On Tuesday, Duchitanga-Quitutuizaca pleaded no contest to second-degree manslaughter. The prosecutor nolled the other charges.

At the hearing four women spoke on behalf of the driver who was killed, Benjamin Franklin Morant. Two who had children with Morant spoke about the loss of the children’s father. The women said they are having a hard time explaining to the younger children that their father is gone and will miss their life milestones. Morant’s mother and sister also spoke, telling Duchitanga-Quitutuizaca that they forgive him because of their religious believes and hope he can forgive himself. Duchitanga-Quitutuizaca’s relatives also spoke, saying they miss him. 

On March 19, 2017 around 2:40 a.m. a Jeep Duchitanga-Quitutuizaca was driving struck the Ford Fiesta Morant was driving on I-91 north, near exit 10, according to an arrest warrant. Morant was pronounced dead at the scene. 

Witnesses and security video showed that Duchitanga-Quitutuizaca was driving the pickup truck the wrong way at the time of the crash and had entered the highway via the exit 12 off ramp, the warrant said. The prosecutor noted at the hearing that some witnesses told police Morant’s vehicle was driving the wrong way, but police determined they were seeing the Ford Fiesta’s headlights spin around after being struck. William Gerace, attorney for Duchitanga-Quitutuizaca, said there were differing accounts of the incident.


Twitter: @LaurenSellewRJ