Driver Fleeing From Police Kills 3-Year-Old, Injures Several in Waterbury Crash

The teen, a Waterbury resident, attempted to run from the scene but was taken into custody a short time later, police said

A 3-year-old Waterbury, Connecticut, boy is dead and three people, including a 19-month-old girl, have serious injuries after a teen driver fled from police and hit several pedestrians, according to state police.

Police have identified the driver as 18-year-old Zekhi Eric Lee, of Waterbury, and said a warrant was served, charging him with manslaughter and felony evading. 

State police said Waterbury officers were attempting to stop Lee, who was driving a silver Acura, because they were informed that the 18-year-old may have selling drugs, according to the arrest warrant. 

Waterbury officers tried to box in Acura by conducting a traffic stop but Lee was able to drive off northbound on South Main Street after forcibly striking a police vehicle. Lee said the police were in unmarked vehicles and when they came from all directions, he got scared and drove off, the warrant said. 

After fleeing from police, the car collided with a Toyota Corolla driving southbound at the intersection of South Main Street and East Liberty Street around 3:45 p.m. The Acura Lee was driving went off the road and onto the sidewalk after the collision, hitting several pedestrians and the car came to a stop, state police said.

During an interview with police, Lee said he eventually released police were following him when he saw red and blue lights, but he was afraid for his life. Lee said he only has a permit and that his car was not registered or insured, which is why he misused license plates, according to the arrest warrant. 

The 3-year-old, identified as Justin Quiroz, of Waterbury, was pronounced dead at the scene, according to state police.

Three other pedestrians sustained serious injuries. One woman was transported to St. Mary's Hospital, another woman who was walking was airlifted to St Francis Hospital with serious injuries and a 19-month-old girl was airlifted to Connecticut Children's Medical Center.

The Toyota driver, an 82-year-old Waterbury man, sustained minor injuries and was transported to Waterbury Hospital, according to police.

Lee attempted to run from the scene but was taken into custody a short time later, police said.

State police said he was transported to the Waterbury Police Department, but no other information was available.

Anyone with information or who has information about the crash is asked to call contact Western District Major Crime Detective Ed Vayan at (203) 267-2200 or text TIP711 with any information to 274637. All calls and texts will be kept confidential.

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