NORWALK, Conn. – Quick action kept two Norwalk Police officers out of a crash with a stolen van last week, according to affidavits filed at Norwalk Superior Court. The operator of the van, who spent four nights at Norwalk Hospital, has been released on $9,000 bond.
Steven Carey, 21, of 289 Silvermine Ave., appeared before Judge Bruce Hudock on Tuesday. His lawyer, Mark Sherman, said Carey's actions were due to a medical problem.
"When the dust settles I think there will be a medical explanation for what happened here," Sherman said after the arraignment.
Special Services Officers Julio Rodriguez and Bruce Lovallo were sitting in a cruiser in the northbound West Avenue passing lane, in front of O'Neill's Pub, at about 4:30 p.m. Thursday when they heard a loud crash behind them, according to the affidavit. They heard squealing tires and saw a white Ford van with a smashed front end leaving the scene on the southbound side of West Avenue. The van sped over the concrete divider toward them, but Rodriguez turned into the right lane to avoid being hit.
The officers tried to prevent more accidents by activating their emergency lights and sirens to clear traffic, but they watched as the speeding van rear-ended a vehicle at Garner Street and West Avenue, according to the affidavit.
The officers began a pursuit, following grooves in the road and a trail of debris up West Avenue. As they turned onto Wall Street, they saw a large cloud of dust, "people running in all directions," and smashed car parts in the road. Then they saw the stopped van and two vehicles it had hit. Carey got out and fled, but Rodriguez ran after him and got close enough to hit him in the back with a Taser. Carey dropped immediately. When Rodriguez reached him, Carey asked, "Can't I hit rewind and start all over?"
The van was reported stolen from 100 Bouton St. Carey said he had found the keys in the center console, the affadavit said.
Three vehicles had been struck at Wall and Commerce Streets, according to the affidavit. Two were sitting in the right lane on Wall Street at a red light. Carey rear-ended them from the side, ran the red light and hit a truck making a right turn onto Wall Street.
He had hit a vehicle at Martin Luther King Drive and Pine Street, according to the affidavit. An officer at Chapel Street and West Avenue estimated Carey's speed at 70 mph when he went through a red light. Officers describe Carey as high or intoxicated and say that his speech was incoherent at times.
He was taken to Norwalk Hospital, with officers monitoring him around the clock, and created a disturbance at about 4:30 a.m. Monday because he expected the same rights as other patients, such as the use of a phone, Sgt. Lisa Cotto said.
Officers told him he was waking people up and pointed out that they were allowing him to watch television, which he couldn't do in jail. But he spit in an officer's face, pushed people, and was fighting and kicking in a 15-minute long disturbance, Cotto said. He threw a cup of ice at a nurse and threatened to sue everyone there. He was charged with assault on a peace officer/firefighter/emergency medical personnel, interfering with a police officer and second-degree breach of peace.
Carey acted out again hours later, Cotto said. Police signed him out of the hospital at 2:30 p.m.
Sherman said Carey's extended stay in the hospital was due to injuries sustained in the accident. He was not in the psychiatric ward, he said. Carey has a previous arrest several years ago for breach of peace. He is due back in court May 8.