Victim 1(deceased): Tina Fontanez, DOB 05/17/1993, of 23 Williams Street, Hartford, CT.
Victim 2(deceased on 1/23/18): Catalina Melendez, DOB 07/06/1994, of 95 Vine Street, Hartford, CT
Responding officers located an unoccupied motor vehicle (2006 Acura TSX color silver) near the crash scene (intersection of Bethel and Guilford) with damage and evidence consistent and with having been involved in the crash. The vehicle was secured and seized as evidence. Additional physical evidence was located on-scene. Detectives from the Crime Scene Division and Major Crimes Division responded to the scene and assumed control of the investigation. C4 analysts have assisted with video evidence.
The suspect vehicle was traveling north on Vine Street. The two pedestrians, who had just exited a cab, were in the travel lanes of Vine St when they were struck. The vehicle fled the scene and was recovered near the intersection of Bethel St. and Guilford St.
A short time later, the registered owner of the vehicle, Lorenzo Ivery DOB 7/14/92, of 135 Dart Street, Hartford, CT, reported the vehicle stolen to police. Based on physical evidence and video surveillance, Detectives were able to determine that Ivery was an occupant, but not the driver of the evading vehicle (including showing up at HPD with auto glass in his hair and clothing). He was subsequently charged with Evading Responsibility with Death, 14-224(a), Evading Responsibility, 14-224, False Statement, 53a-157, Hindering Prosecution 2nd, 53a-166 and Owner Liability, 14-107
Investigation of the incident continued, which included analysis of video footage obtained by the Hartford Police Department Capital City Command Center (C4). Detectives were able to develop a suspect operator of the vehicle during their investigation. The suspect, Nathaniel Jefferson, DOB 10/08/1993, was located and interviewed by Crime Scene Division Detectives. During the interview, Jefferson admitted to being the operator of the vehicle at the time that it struck Ms. Fontanez and Ms. Melendez. Jefferson also admitted to leaving the scene of the crash.
The HPD Crime Scene Division continued investigating the crash and applied for an arrest warrant for Jefferson. On Friday, January 26, 2018, an arrest warrant was issued for Nathaniel Jefferson related to his role in the crash that took the lives of Ms. Fontanez and Ms. Melendez.
On Monday, February 5, 2018, Jefferson turned himself in to Hartford Police Officers at the Public Safety Complex and was charged with two counts of Manslaughter 2nd, 53a-56, two counts of Evading Responsibility with Death, 14-224(a), Evading Responsibility, 14-224, Reckless Driving, 14-222(a), Traveling Too Fast for Conditions, 14-218a, Failure to Drive in Proper Lane, 14-236(1), and Operating w/Suspended License, 14-215a. Jefferson was processed by the Detention Division and is being held on a one million dollar judge-set bond.