Waterbury Man Was Racing Before Deadly Crash: Cops

Jonas Rodela is charged with manslaughter in connection with the crash.

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    Waterbury Police
    Jonas Rodela, 29, is charged with manslaughter in connection with the death of a passenger in his car when it crashed Monday night. Police said Rodela was racing at the time of the crash.

    A 29-year-old man has been charged in connection with the death of a passenger in his SUV Monday night.

    According to police, Jonas Rodela was racing along Meadow Street when he lost control of his Ford Explorer and hit a fire hydrant and a utility pole before the vehicle flipped and landed on its roof.

    A passenger in the backseat, Gregorio Mendoza, 32, of Meriden, was killed.

    Mendoza's brother, Jose Concepcion-Mendoza, 38, told police that Rodela pulled up alongside a pickup truck at a stop light on Meadow Street and raced the truck when the light turned green. 

    Concepcion-Mendoza also told police that Rodela had been drinking before the crash.  Officers at the scene detected and odor of alcohol and Rodela admitted to drinking, police said.

    Rodela was taken to the hospital to be treated for injuries and was arrested after being released. 

    He was charged with second-degree manslaughter and is being held on $250,000 bond after his arraignment on Wednesday.  He is due back in court in February.

    Police said they are waiting on results from blood test to determine if Rodela's blood alcohol level was above the legal limit.  They could file additional charges against Rodela, police said.