‘It’s not gonna bring her back’: Suspect in fatal Waterbury crash turns himself in; victim’s heartbroken family warns others

News 8 Exclusive

WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — Waterbury police say a suspect of an April fatal motor vehicle accident turned himself in Wednesday morning. News 8 spoke exclusively with the heartbroken family of the victim Wednesday afternoon.

According to officers, Jamall Smith, 26, of Waterbury, surrendered himself to police at 6 a.m. Wednesday in connection to a fatal car accident on April 22 in the area of 2457 East Main Street.

Smith was arrested and charged with assault, driving under the influence, and manslaughter. He is being held on a bond of $100,000.

News 8 spoke with the family of the victim of the crash, Dominique Dalessio, 20, Wednesday afternoon.

Deborah Dalessio – who described her daughter, Dominique as an angel – waited weeks to get the news of an arrest in the death of her daughter.

“I thought it would make me feel better,” Deborah said. “It’s bittersweet. It’s not gonna bring her back.”

Deborah lost Dominique the night of April 22, 2020. Police told her she was in a car crash on East Main Street. They say Dominique was a passenger in a car that was hit by an oncoming vehicle that had traveled onto the wrong side of the road. Police say the driver of that other car – Smith – lost control and slid across the street — slamming into the car in which Dominique was riding.

The driver took off from the scene. It was later identified as Smith and police asked for the public’s help in finding him.

The time between then and now has been excruciating for Dominique’s older brother, Dylan.

“I was so mad and so upset,” Dylan said. “It was so hard to deal with knowing he took my little sister from me.”

Smith was arraigned Wednesday. His bail lowered from $100,000 to $75,000. He faces a laundry list of charges, including DUI, assault, and manslaughter with a motor vehicle.

Dominique’s family said she was very involved in her community and loved giving back to others. She loved sports and playing with the family dog. She had many friends who held numerous vigils for her when she was fighting for her life in the hospital and they continued to hold ceremonies to remember her spirit after she passed.

A memorial to Dominique still stands on the spot on East Main Street where the crash occurred.

One reason her family wanted to speak with News 8 was to send a message to the public. They tell News 8 they don’t want any other family to experience the nightmare they’re experiencing now.

“Please never, never do drugs or be intoxicated and drive,” Dylan said.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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