Stamford woman sentenced for drunk driving accident that killed GHS graduate

A Stamford woman will serve six months in prison after pleading guilty to driving while intoxicated following an October 2010 accident on Interstate 95 in Darien where two men, including a Greenwich High School graduate, died.

Candice Blanks was handed the prison sentence on Wednesday in Stamford Superior Court, five months after she pleaded guilty to the drunk driving charge. She will serve the term at the York Correctional Facility in Niantic.

Blanks agreed to plead guilty on April 15 after Assistant State’s Attorney Steven Weiss dropped a pair of felony evasion charges in the wreck, which resulted in the deaths of Filipe Chagas, 19, and Lucas Silva, 22, who was a graduate of Greenwich High School. Prior to the plea, Blanks’ attorney Darnell Crosland had requested the case be thrown out because of a lack of evidence. State Police mistakenly destroyed evidence, including Blanks’ vehicle, thinking that the investigation had been closed. That motion was denied in March. A pair of manslaughter charges had previously been dismissed.

Emergency responders determined that Blanks had left the scene, but her car was quickly located on Ledge Road near entrance 10, according to Darien Police. Crosland has maintained that Blanks stopped her vehicle as soon as it was safe to do so.

In an email sent to The Darien Times on Thursday, Crosland maintained that Blanks did not cross on to the shoulder and Chagas and Silva were in the travel portion of the road at the time of the incident.

“If you are driving down I-95 as my client did, and you run into individuals who unfortunately were in the travel portion of the road way, then barring the fact that you may have consumed alcohol, there would be no causal link to justify a charge other than DUI, which simply means a person operated or drove a motor vehicle while [having] consumed an intoxicating drink,” Crosland said.

Crosland added that he and Weiss discussed having Blanks plead guilty to negligent homicide and to serve two years in jail. The negotiations broke down, Crosland said, because the families’ lawyers insisted on a felony charge and for Blanks to serve two and half years.

“Justice is not manufactured, and we must work within the confines of the law. We cannot punish without process. To do so would result in no law and order,” he said. “I think perhaps the only ones who realize this are the two victims, angels in heaven now.  We here on earth are incapable of moving through our hurt to do so.  God bless them.”

Chagas family Attorney Rute Mendes said the families are not happy with the outcome of the case and do not feel justice was served.

“They are very upset and disappointed with how the case was handled from the beginning to the end,” Mendes said Wednesday.

The outcome of the case, Mendes added, “sends a message to young people that it’s not that serious.”

Both families have filed civil lawsuits against Blanks. The Silva family has also filed suit against two South Norwalk bars where Blanks purportedly drank prior to the incident.

By participating in the comments section of this site you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and User Agreement

© Hersam Acorn. All rights reserved. The Greenwich Post, 10 Corbin Drive, Floor 3, Darien, CT 06820

Designed by WPSHOWER

Powered by WordPress