Attorneys representing the Stamford man who suffered life-threatening injuries as a teenager in a 2014 head-on car crash on Silvermine Road have said in a legal filing that their client would be willing to settle for $5.5 million with the New Canaan woman they say caused it. The “Offer of Compromise” was made to the woman in a Jan. 13 filing on behalf of plaintiff Michael Bivona as part of a civil lawsuit that followed the near-fatal accident. The woman in September pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor reckless driving charge, and served two days in jail, court records show. The civil suit, which also names Telebeam Telephone Systems as a defendant as the woman’s employer and owner of the vehicle she was driving, accuses the New Canaan woman of speeding as well as operating recklessly and under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Handcuffed and speaking in halting sentences to two men forced to sit Monday morning in state Superior Court in Norwalk because of injuries they’d sustained in a car crash she caused nearly two years ago, a New Canaan woman in court custody apologized and said she never meant to hurt anyone. During her sentencing on a misdemeanor reckless driving charge that followed the October 2014 crash on Silvermine Road and a subsequent, separate drunk driving charge at Saxe Middle School pickup, the woman, 52, told Michael Bivona and Darryl Shaw that she was “so sorry for everything.”
“I pray for you every day,” the woman, wearing a purple blouse, back pants and sneakers, told the men. She added: “I do not want you to think that you are not on my mind.”
Under a plea deal worked out between her attorney, John Robert Gulash of Bridgeport-based Gulash & Associates, and the office of assistant state’s attorney Nadia Prinz, she pleaded no contest and was fined the maximum $300 for the reckless driving charge and an additional $500 plus court costs and sentenced to six months, suspended after 48 hours. The formal ‘nolo contendere’ plea means that she accepts a conviction though she does not admit guilt.
Judge Alex Hernandez said she also would have to make any “verifiable restitution” following the accident she caused, undergo substance abuse counseling, attend four MADD victim impact panels over the two-year period and may need to use an interlock safety device with her car, pending a DMV decision. Gulash called the sentencing “the result of very extensive discussions” with prosecutors, and said it represents a fair mix of “punishment, treatment and safeguards” for the woman in the future.
Police on Thursday afternoon charged a 52-year-old New Canaan woman with driving under the influence at Saxe Middle School, where she had gone to pick up her child. The woman, of Harrison Avenue, is the same woman named in a civil lawsuit in connection with the horrific October 2014 car accident on Silvermine Road that caused a young man from Stamford life-threatening injuries. That lawsuit accuses her of driving under the influence—a charge that the state’s attorney did not bring in the case, though local police had determined that she was intoxicated at the time of the crash. Police last March charged her with misdemeanor reckless driving for that accident. At about 1:48 p.m. on Jan.
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 woman, 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. She “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.
New Canaan Police had sought at first to bring a charge of driving under the influence against the 51-year-old town woman who in October rear-ended a BMW at 64 mph on Silvermine Road, causing a near-fatal head-on collision, documents show. But 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 obtained by NewCanaanite.com. The woman had failed all field sobriety tests at the scene of the horrific accident, which saw a Stamford teen hospitalized for several weeks after suffering multiple traumatic injuries, 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. 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.