Man Charged in Hartford Hit-and-Run That Killed Two Women

Police have arrested a man suspected in a hit-and-run on Vine Street in Hartford on Jan. 16 that killed two women.

Police said Monday that they have arrested 24-year-old Nathaniel Jefferson and that he admitted to driving the car and fleeing the scene.

Jefferson is accused of hitting 25-year-old Tina Fontanez, of Hartford, and 23-year-old Catalina Melendez, also of Hartford, who had just gotten out of a cab, at 9:53 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 16, police said.

Fontanez was pronounced dead and Melendez was in critical condition at St. Francis Hospital. She was pronounced dead at 6 p.m. Jan. 23, according to police.

The vehicle involved in the crash was recovered near the intersection of Bethel and Guilford streets.

Police viewed video footage and identified a suspect. During the interview, Jefferson admitted to being the driver of the vehicle when it struck Fontanez and Melendez and admitted to leaving the scene of the crash, according to police.

Jefferson was charged with two counts of second-degree manslaughter, two counts of evading responsibility with death, evading responsibility, reckless driving, traveling too fast for conditions, failure to drive in proper lane and operating with suspended license.

He is being held on a $1 million judge-set bond.

Police also charged the registered owner of the car, 25-year-old Lorenzo Ivery, of Hartford. They said he contacted police to report the vehicle stolen, but investigators determined that Ivery was in the car, based on evidence, including auto glass in his hair and clothing.

He was charged with false statement, second-degree hindering prosecution and owner liability. At his arraignment he was also charged with evading a motor vehicle accident with a death.

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