Civil Suit: New Canaan Woman Was Driving Under the Influence in Oct. 30 Crash on Silvermine Road

The New Canaan woman charged in March with causing a horrific accident on Silvermine Road last fall now faces a civil lawsuit filed on behalf of the Stamford teen seriously injured in the collision.

The scene on Silvermine Road in the aftermath of the Oct. 30, 2014 accident.

The scene on Silvermine Road in the aftermath of the Oct. 30, 2014 accident.

Carol Sung, 51, had been under the influence on Oct. 30 when she rear-ended a BMW with her SUV, sending that car into an oncoming traffic lane, where it struck a car operated by 19-year-old Michael Bivona Jr., according to a civil lawsuit filed June 22 by attorney John M. Parese of New Haven-based Buckley & Wynne.

The head-on crash injured the teen severely enough that officials say he likely would have died if not for New Canaan’s emergency responders.

Sung “violated Section 14-227a of the Connecticut General Statutes in operating said vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor and/or drugs,” according to the complaint.

She could not immediately be reached for comment.

Michael Bivona, Jr. in the hospital following the Oct. 30, 2014 head-on crash on Silvermine Road. A police report of the accident indicates that a New Canaan woman traveling at excessively high speed caused the crash by rear-ending the vehicle in front of her. Contributed

Michael Bivona, Jr. in the hospital following the Oct. 30, 2014 head-on crash on Silvermine Road. A police report of the accident indicates that a New Canaan woman traveling at excessively high speed caused the crash by rear-ending the vehicle in front of her. Contributed

Though Sung has only faced a criminal charge of misdemeanor reckless driving (to which she pleaded not guilty), New Canaan Police in seeking an arrest warrant initially had sought a DUI charge, documents show.

Yet after an investigation in which hospital officials apparently failed to test her blood for drugs, the state’s attorney’s office declined to bring the more serious charge, according to an arrest warrant application and police affidavits.

The woman had failed all field sobriety tests at the scene, according to the application.

She also appeared disoriented and, though her only physical ailment from the crash appeared to be a bloody nose, contradicted herself more than once while speaking to police in its immediate aftermath, according to multiple affidavits from New Canaan police officers on scene.

The front driver's side of Michael Bivona Jr.'s Subaru, pictured here, was struck Oct. 30 by a BMW whose operator said he was traveling eastbound on Silvermine Road at the 30 mph speed limit when a car struck him from behind—a vehicle operated by a 50-year-old New Canaan woman—sending him careening into Bivona. Here is Bivona's car after the crash, at New Canaan's DPW highway shed. Contributed

The front driver’s side of Michael Bivona Jr.’s Subaru, pictured here, was struck Oct. 30 by a BMW whose operator said he was traveling eastbound on Silvermine Road at the 30 mph speed limit when a car struck him from behind—a vehicle operated by a 50-year-old New Canaan woman—sending him careening into Bivona. Here is Bivona’s car after the crash, at New Canaan’s DPW highway shed. Contributed

Police discovered that the woman had access to prescription drugs, and after a Breathalyzer test administered on scene showed no alcohol in her system, instructed emergency room physicians at Norwalk Hospital to test her blood for drugs, the application said.

However, “the hospital laboratory did not check for any other drugs despite the fact that [a New Canaan police officer] requested it be checked the night of the crash,” the application said.

Hospital officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

It remains unclear just where Sung had been immediately prior to the accident. Nor is it clear just what happened at the hospital or whether Sung’s blood is still available for drug screening.

Parese had said in the weeks that followed the accident that a lawsuit was likely.

The New Canaan Police Department’s application for an arrest warrant states unequivocally that ER staff were instructed to test for drugs: “After all patients were transported to Norwalk ER, [a New Canaan Police officer] was sent to follow up with emergency room staff. [The officer] made contact with emergency room nurses, and explained that he needed blood to be drawn from [the woman] because at the time it was believed the accident would result in a fatality. [The officer] requested the blood sample be checked for alcohol as well as any prescription and/or illegal drugs.”

One officer’s testimony reads: “On 1/7/15, I spoke to [a woman] in the state’s attorney’s office at Norwalk Court. I asked her about reviewing the case prior to writing an arrest warrant, and she stated they do not discuss cases prior to a warrant. We did discuss the case briefly, and we were in agreement to how to proceed. She recommended writing up an arrest warrant based on the information we had, and send it down for review. Supplements will follow as the warrant proceeds. On 1/21/15, I completed an arrest warrant for [the woman], for the charges of DWI and reckless driving. The warrant was reviewed by [the state’s attorney] on 2/5/15, and she advised me they would not pursue the DWI charge. She requested the DWI charge be removed, and the warrant re-submitted. On 2/23/15, the warrant was re-submitted to Norwalk Court.”

Reached by phone, an official in the state’s attorney’s office said the agency does not discuss individual cases.

It isn’t clear just how much compensation Bivona is seeking in the lawsuit. A list in the lawsuit of physical injuries to his face, leg, spine and jaw also includes “several emotional and psychological injuries; post-traumatic stress, diminution of the ability to enjoy life’s pleasures; loss of function; pain and anguish, and a shock to his entire nervous system, some of which injuries are or are likely to be of a permanent nature.”

The accident not only forced him to incur ongoing medical costs, but he also “was and will in the future be unable to pursue his regular course of employment, thereby sustaining financial loss and an impaired earning capacity.”

Parts of the lawsuit—that Sung has been traveling at an excessive speed and failed to halt the collision—echo what police found in their accident reconstruction: She was operating her SUV wildly, according to data obtained from the vehicles Electronic Data Recorder or “EDR.”

For example, she had the accelerator pushed virtually to the floor of the car all through the collision (the man she rear-ended had been traveling about 37 mph in the 30 mph zone, the report said, along Silvermine just up the hill from the intersection at Little Brook Road/Clapboard Hill Road) and even after impact, according to the “EDR,” the woman never once stepped on the brakes.

Police after pulling her out of her SUV through a passenger-side window (the vehicle had rolled onto its side against a row of trees) found that she had a bloody nose but said she was otherwise “fine.” Officers said they could smell alcohol on her breath, and that the woman told them she had “half a glass of wine,” but then after she was reminded that she’d been in an accident, said, “I didn’t drink anything today,” according to the arrest warrant application.

The woman, in flip-flops that she opted to keep on, failed field sobriety tests, according to the application and an office’s testimony. She repeatedly lost her balance, couldn’t walk straight and was unable to stand on one foot, police said. “Once [the woman] put her foot down, she looked at me and said, ‘I’m done now,’ ” the officer recalled in the police report.

The woman told police that she’d been on her way to pick up her child from a horse-riding lesson, though she’d already passed the turn-off from Silvermine to get to the organization that supposedly was giving that lesson, police said.

Disoriented and confused, the woman asked police repeatedly whether she was on Harrison Avenue—where she lives—and had to be told that no, she was on Silvermine Road.

 

4 thoughts on “Civil Suit: New Canaan Woman Was Driving Under the Influence in Oct. 30 Crash on Silvermine Road

  1. Everyone in our town should be completly outraged by this situation. I am very outspoken about my opinion on drunk driving, and I realize that not everyone agrees with me, but Carol Sung, a mother and acquaintance of mine, mother of twins who went to preschool with my children, was arrested 6 years ago, mid-day, drunk driving with her children in the car. She had come up with a terrible excuse that she had to pick up her kids BC the nanny had an emergency and ahe had a lunch where she had some wine. I am
    Not sure if the charges were dropped or what she pleaded, etc, in that case, but I vividly remember the arrest.

    To me this is an extremely sad situation and a total failure on the state’s part. On average. A person drives 80x drunk before they are caught. I don’t know what carol’s “bottom” will be, but she obviously needs to seek treatment for alcohol abuse. And she almost killed this boy. This accident was a real horror for this town, involving 4 cars, and as usual, the drunk driver who caused it barely has a scratch. And now she isn’t even charged with dui. She is back on our streets, driving every day. What an outrage!

  2. Driving under the influence is totally unacceptable. How narcissistic can a person be not caring for the lives of others. It is appalling that the staff at the hospital nor NCPD did the proper toxicology screening so that this second offender would finally lose her license.

  3. What a tragic accident indeed and my thoughts and prayers are with everyone and their families that were a part of this.. I also wish them all well in not only their physical recoveries but their emotional ones too. Every day is a gift as we quickly realize especially when tragedy strikes suddenly.

    However we must not lose sight that sadly sometimes we are eager to judge and to place blame without really knowing all of the facts.

    What we read or watch on television or hear word of mouth is not always the truth as we all know.

    I believe all are innocent until proven guilty.

    Thank you.

  4. My prayers go out to the young man who survived such a horrific accident. And of course to the family. Truly is a blessing!! after saying that I must say I feel very perplexed on the said allegations. At first saying this woman was dui. Then the cops said the breath analyzer showed no alcohol but she failed field test. Why didn’t the hospital take any further tests maybe they felt there was no need for them?The cop say she smelt like booze then why would it not show on the breath test?? They say she wasn’t sure whT street she was on. Surely it would be normal for an individual to be confused and even a little disoriented on where you are after such a tragic accident. I once too was involved in a very bad accident (Absolutely no alcohol involved) and took me some time to get my thoughts together and figure out where I was. This is tragic no matter how you look at. Hopefully no false allegations are being thrown around and most importantly that the prayers continue for this young man to have a full recovery.

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