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PD: 7-year-old girl dies in Waterbury crash caused by drunk driver

New Haven

WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — A 7-year-old girl has died after she was struck by a car that was hit by a drunk driver in Waterbury on Sunday night.

Police say that at around 9:33 p.m., officers were dispatched to the area of 1037 Baldwin St. for a car crash involving pedestrians.

An investigation revealed that a white, 2005 Chevrolet van had rear-ended a Honda CRV that was parked off to the right side of the northbound lane on Baldwin Street. That impact then pushed the Honda forward, striking a 29-year-old woman and 7-year-old girl, between it and a third parked car.

A third pedestrian, a 30-year-old man, was also hit by the Honda and thrown to the sidewalk.

The woman, Yolanda Perez-Moreno, and child, Serenity Mia-Lee Perez, were taken to St. Mary’s Hospital for serious life-threatening injuries. Shortly later, Serenity was pronounced dead.

Perez-Moreno, the child’s mother, remains in stable condition at the hospital. She is recovering from a serious leg injury.

The third victim, George Reyes, received treatment of his non-life threatening injuries on his own.

The driver of the van fled on foot but was followed by witnesses who convinced him to return to the accident scene. He was identified as 39-year-old Luis Loja, of Waterbury, and police say that he was operating the van impaired by alcoholic beverages.

Loja was arrested and charged with:

  • Operation of motor vehicle under the influence alcohol/drug.
  • Manslaughter 2nd with a motor vehicle.
  • Assault 2nd with a motor vehicle.
  • Evade responsibility in accident resulting in death.
  • Operation of an uninsured motor vehicle.
  • Improper use of registration plate.
  • Operation of motor vehicle without a license.
  • Operating an unregistered motor vehicle.
  • Failure to drive in proper lane.

Loja was held on a $750,000 bond.

Editor’s note: The child was originally said to be 6. The story has been update to reflect that she was 7.

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