Man Charged in Crash that Killed Two Children to Face Judge

Monday, Nov 4, 2013  |  Updated 10:04 AM EDT
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Two young children are dead after an early morning crash in Meriden. One other young child is in ICU along with the parents in the hospital.

Jamie Ratliff, Jon Wardle

Two young children are dead after an early morning crash in Meriden. One other young child is in ICU along with the parents in the hospital.

The man suspected of causing a crash that killed two Meriden children and injured their parents and another child in Meriden early Sunday morning will face a judge today.

The crash happened at Broad Street and Gale Avenue just before 2 a.m. on Sunday and Israel Gonzalez, 29, of 108 Ann Street in Meriden, is being held on $1 million bond.

Police said a Subaru Legacy that had been traveling north on Broad Street was stopped at a traffic light at the intersection when it was struck by a GMC Denali.

Five people were inside the Subaru, including three children. Tatiana Cruz, 5, and Lorenzo Cruz, 8, were pronounced dead.

The siblings attended Israel Putnam Elementary School and the superintendent said support services have been put in place at the school for students. Parents of the children's classmates are also receiving calls.

"I went out, and I saw the two kids lying out on the ground," said Lily Pervier, who lives nearby. "They were trying to revive them, but they couldn't."

The aunt of the children's father said the parents of all three children were sitting in the front of the car.

The father, Michael Cruz, was released from the hospital and the mother, Gina Schroder, is conscious, but will be in surgery on Wednesday, the relative said.

Schroder's son and Cruz's stepson, Alejandro Schroder, 12, was also in the SUV and was transported to the hospital, where he was in the intensive care unit as of Sunday.

Alejandro Schroder is a student at Washington Middle School. Crisis support services are also being offered here.

Police said Gonzalez ran from the scene and officers received tips that he was at a nearby home.

One witness who did not want to be identified said he saw the driver who was allegedly responsible start screaming before running from the scene.

Gonzalez was located and taken to the hospital to be treated for minor injuries.

He was arrested, charged with felony evading responsibility, reckless driving and operating a motor vehicle without a drivers license and is being held on $1 million bond.

Police said they have obtained a warrant to perform a blood alcohol test and more serious charges are pending the results.

"People's negligence, they come here and they just change yout life in a minute, in seconds. It's just horrible," said Pervier.

Neighbors placed stuffed animals, toys, flowers, candles and balloons near crash scene to mourn a family's unimaginable heartbreak.

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to call Officer Donna Zurstadt at 203-630-6258.

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