NORWALK, Conn. — A Maine police chief who was in Norwalk as part of a Wreaths Across America convoy initially alerted Norwalk police to Brandon Dupee, who was nabbed in the city on impaired driving charges but died hours later in one-car crash with his sister Lindsay Dupee, 31, in Fairfield, police said.
Dupee, 33, of Bridgeport but a former longtime Norwalk resident, was driving a 2013 brown Nissan Maxima on Hendricks Avenue on Tuesday, where the Wreaths Across America convoy was traveling.
One of the convoy participants, a Maine police chief, suspected Dupee might be under the influence after coming into contact with him and alerted a nearby state trooper, Sgt. Sofia Gulino of Norwalk Police said.
The convoy was delivering items for Wreaths Across America, which holds wreath-laying ceremonies on veterans' graves across the nation annually Dec. 17. The event is held at Arlington National Cemetery as well as across the 50 states. A large event is planned in neighboring Darien for Saturday.
The trooper also came into contact with Dupee, detected an odor of marijuana and advised Norwalk Police, Gulino said. The nature of the contact was not detailed in the report, she said.
Dupee's speech was slow and labored, and he seemed confused, Gulino said. He could not perform the field sobriety tests, was arrested and was taken to police headquarters, she said. A Norwalk K-9 unit was brought in and a baggie containing less than 4 ounces of marijuana was discovered in his car, police said.
At headquarters, Dupee did not provide a proper breath sample — what is called refuse by conduct — Gulino said. That is when a suspect agrees to perform a breathalyzer but does it in such a way that a blood alcohol content reading can't be done, usually by not blowing directly into the device, she said.
He was charged with operating a vehicle under the influence and possession of a controlled substance. He posted bond of $500 and was released from Norwalk police headquarters at 12:25 a.m. Wednesday, she said. His license remained with police and his Maxima was seized and towed.
A little more than one hour later, Fairfield police responded to a crash scene where a car had slammed into a tree on Sunfield Lane after taking Exit 21 off I-95 north onto Mill Plain Road in Fairfield.
A preliminary investigation showed the black 2010 Honda Accord was driven by Dupee and his passenger was his sister, Lindsay, police said.
Both were pronounced dead at the scene, police said.
In 2011, Brandon Dupee split a $1 million lottery jackpot win with a 90-year-old neighbor in Norwalk.
In February, Dupee had been arrested on charges of third-degree trespassing and possession of less than a half ounce of marijuana after he refused to leave a Norwalk gas station because he wanted to buy scratch off lottery tickets hours after the service station had stopped selling them, according to The Hour .
The fatal crash is under investigation by the Fairfield Police Crash Reconstruction Unit. The state medical examiner's office is investigating the cause of death of the brother and sister.