The woman responsible for a fatal crash in May 2011 pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter in late November. Yadira Torres, a 26 year-old warehouse worker, agreed to serve between five and eight years in prison. A judge will determine the specific length of sentencing in February. Torres has not driven since the accident. She is free on $35,000 bail.
The accident occurred at about 6:00 a.m. on May 7. Torres was driving north on Interstate 95, reportedly heading home to Hartford after a night of drinking in Manhattan. She lost control of her Dodge Caliber and hit the tractor trailer she was passing. The collision made the truck flip and spin around, detaching the cab from the trailer. The truck then burst into flames. Both the driver, 42 year-old James Sorto, and his passenger, 18 year-old Kelly Taborda, died in the crash. Sorto was pronounced dead at the scene, although officials would not be able to identify him for several days due to the extent of his burns. Taborda, who was pregnant, died from blunt trauma injuries at Stamford Hospital. Torres and three passengers in her car were treated for minor injuries at Norwalk Hospital. Police arrested Torres at the hospital that day.
Police charged Torres with vehicular manslaughter. In Connecticut, the combination of driving under the influence and a fatal car crash is known as “manslaughter in the second degree with a motor vehicle” and is a class C felony. The law allows prison sentences of one to ten years for conviction of a class C felony. By pleading guilty, Torres has admitted to many aspects of the accident, including being at fault for the crash. Normally, personal injury attorneys would find this information useful.
According to news reports, Torres had minimal coverage under her automobile insurance policy. Taborda’s family reportedly decided not to pursue a lawsuit for damages or wrongful death against Torres. Although there should be more than enough evidence to support a wrongful death claim, a cardinal rule of civil claims is not to commit the time and expense of a claim when it is certain that the defendant lacks the ability to pay a settlement or judgment. With no insurance and a lengthy prison sentence looming, the defendant in this case most likely lacks the means to satisfy a judgment if one existed.