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Monday, March 24, 2014

Oxford man gets 7 months in crash that killed teen



This is the scene of the March 2012 fatality on Old State Road in Oxford. (Patricia Villers — Register)

DERBY >> Oxford resident Eric Ramirez was sentenced Monday to seven months in prison in Superior Court for the motor vehicle death two years ago of Brandon Giordano, 15, of Oxford.
“I’ll never forgive myself. No matter what happens, it’ll never be enough,” Ramirez told the judge.
Ramirez, 21, in January pleaded no contest before Judge Charles T. Lee to charges of negligent homicide and engaging police in pursuit.
Ramirez also was charged with reckless driving, improper use of lights and failure to display light for the March 9, 2012, crash.
Police had pursued Ramirez before the accident. His Ford Mustang had hit a commercial building and was found upside-down on Old State Road in Oxford.
Ramirez was injured; front-seat passenger Dion Major, then 16, was treated at the hospital for minor injuries and released; Brandon, an Oxford High School sophomore, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Ramirez’s attorney, Tara Knight, of Knight & Cerritelli in New Haven, has said her client “suffers daily with the feeling of guilt and loss of his friend, Brandon.”
Although Ramirez didn’t want to go to jail, he accepted that as a possibility, Knight has said.
Brandon’s mother, Angela Borrelli, has said she does not want Ramirez to be incarcerated.
Knight has said the Seymour Police Department “bears a huge responsibility for the loss of life.”
“The decision to pursue a teenager for illegal lighting (on his car) was irresponsible,” Knight has said.
Seymour police Officer Anthony Renaldi, who pursued Ramirez on Route 67 from Seymour into Oxford before the accident, was cleared of wrongdoing and was not disciplined.
After a six-month probe, the state police Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Squad concluded the car hit the building as Ramirez tried to evade Renaldi. Ramirez was charged on a warrant by state police at Troop A in Southbury.
Renaldi saw LED lights flashing from underneath Ramirez’ 2000 Ford Mustang. When Renaldi tried to stop the car in Seymour, Ramirez sped up. Renaldi pursued the car on Route 67. He turned off his siren and flashing lights and continued into Oxford.
State police said Ramirez failed to negotiate the curve onto Old State Road. As a result, the car went airborne and hit a commercial building at 43 Old State Road before coming to rest upside down.
Brandon’s family has a civil claim against the Seymour Police Department in connection with his death, Knight said.
A week after Brandon’s death, about 300 people attended his two-hour funeral, including dozens of members of the Wolverines football team, for which he wore No. 69 as a lineman.
His 55 jersey-clad teammates, carrying or wearing flowers, escorted his family and casket in a 15-minute procession into the Oxford church.
Many boys in the church wore pink ties, because Brandon always wore something pink, one teen said.
Family, friends and his coach told of a boy who was hard-working, dedicated, loving, witty and loads of fun.
Attendees included Brandon’s grandmother, Deb Borrelli, grandfather, Jerry Borrelli, First Selectman George R. Temple, then-Derby Mayor Anthony Staffieri and several teachers.

Reporters Jean Falbo-Sosnovich and Patricia Villers contributed to this story.

Call Phyllis Swebilius at 203-789-5681. Have questions, feedback or ideas about our coverage? Connect directly with the editors of the New Haven Register at AskTheRegister.com.

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