NORTH HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — A man from Cromwell was arrested and charged with manslaughter following the fatal crash of a tow-truck driver in North Haven on I-91 in 2022.

Luis Resto, 55, turned himself in to state police on Monday on an active arrest warrant. The warrant follows a months-long investigation after a crash on I-91 Northbound in North Haven that left a tow-truck driver dead.

The charges stem from an incident on May 21, 2022. A woman, driving a Mazda, pulled into the right shoulder lane, just ahead of Exit 11, to fix a flat tire. While getting tools from her trunk, she activated her car’s hazard lights.

A tow-truck driver, who happened to be driving by, pulled up behind the Mazda and asked if she needed assistance with the tire change. The driver said he wasn’t on call; he had finished working and was heading to Windsor to drop-off the tow-truck. He activated his truck’s lights and assisted her with the tire.

After changing the tire, the tow-truck driver and woman headed back to their respective cars. The woman felt an impact and when she went to check the damage to the rear of her car, she found the tow-truck driver lying on the ground unresponsive.

The tow-truck driver, identified as 37-year-old Christopher Russel of Ellington, was pronounced dead at the scene.

A witness from the scene told police that they had been traveling on I-91 Northbound during the time of the incident and saw a red SUV make contact with the right metal guardrail five or six times near Exit 12. Then, they saw the SUV strike the guardrail on the left side of the roadway and came to a stop in the left shoulder lane near Exit 14.

When the witness approached the SUV driver, they said the driver was “gasping for air” and “incoherent.” He had a vape-like object in his hand and fled the scene once police arrived, the witness said.

Troopers located the disabled red SUV and the driver near Exit 14. The driver, identified as Rusto, was unresponsive. Police believed he was under the influence of narcotics and was transported to Midstate Medical Center.

During an interview at the hospital, Resto said he left a friend’s house in New Haven and bought a small bag of heroin, which he consumed before entering I-91 Northbound. He told police he did not remember getting into an accident, only being transferred onto a stretcher. He allowed investigators to examine his car, but did not adhere to an examination from a Drug Recognition Expert.

After reviewing dashcam footage from the witness, as well as forensic evidence from the scene, police determined that Resto was driving while impaired. They also found that the powder substance found in his car tested positive for Fentanyl and Xylazine.

Rusto was charged with the following: manslaughter in the second degree with a motor vehicle, reckless endangerment in the first degree, misconduct with a motor vehicle, possession of a controlled substance, operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs/alcohol, evading responsibility resulting in death, failure to maintain proper lane, and illegal operation of failing to move over for an emergency vehicle.

He was unable to post a $50,000 court-set bond and was transported to New Haven Correctional Center to await a court appearance.

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