Old Saybrook

Suspect in 2013 Fatal Crash Located in Florida

Booking photo of John Shepard
Old Saybrook Police

Old Saybrook police have been looking for a man wanted in connection with a crash that killed a 49-year-old woman in 2013 and they said they found him in Florida.

Police were looking for 49-year-old John Emory Shepard in connection with the crash that killed 49-year-old Leah Coleman.

Police said they received a 911 call at 7:17 p.m. on July 21, 2013, and the caller said his mother had been involved in an off-roading accident in a wooded area off Essex Road, a Jeep rolled over on top of her and she needed an ambulance.

Officers responded to the scene and found Coleman on the ground under a Jeep that had no roof or doors.

She was transported to a hospital and later died from her injuries, which included fractures to her rib cage, pelvis and left hip, according to police.

Police identified Shepard as the driver and said he told officers that he went out drinking at several establishments in Old Saybrook and drank at home with Coleman before they went off-roading.

He was initially charged with driving under the influence.

An arrest warrant was later signed on Jan. 13, 2014, charging him with manslaughter in the second degree and manslaughter in the second degree with a motor vehicle, but he left the state before being arrested on those charges, according to police.

Investigators learned that he went to Florida, then Texas, where he was possibly working on an oil rig.

On Dec. 12, 2017, Old Saybrook police received notification from police in Tucumcari, New Mexico that they had a warrant charging Shepard with failure to appear in connection with an arrest in 2015.

Police said Shepard was taken into custody on Saturday morning and will await the extradition process.

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