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Warrant Details Fatal Crash Investigation

by Eugene Driscoll | Feb 21, 2018 7:49 pm

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Posted to: Derby, Seymour

Moments after Nathan Torres sold $20 worth of crack to a Beacon Falls man, police allege he got into a car packed with five people, including three underage girls.

“You ready?” Torres asked.

A 16-year-old girl in the car later told police “his eyes were ‘bugging out’ and he sounded like the devil when he said it.”

The vehicle then sped off toward Seymour’s Rimmon Street.

The girls pleaded with him to slow down — but the car didn’t stop until one of the passengers was dead and the passengers were riddled with bruises and broken bones.

Torres lost control of the vehicle and hit a retaining wall before careening into a utility pole, according to a warrant for his arrest.

Police did not estimate how fast the car, a 2008 Infiniti G35, was traveling, but the impact killed Shyheim Samuel, a Derby resident who had just turned 20 years old.

Samuel was one of five passengers in the car.

It happened April 11, 2017 at about 9:30 p.m.

Torres, who was arrested Feb. 7, is now charged with:

  • Manslaughter in the second degree while intoxicated
  • Three counts of second-degree assault with a motor vehicle
  • Two counts of risk of injury to a minor
  • Driving while intoxicated
  • Reckless driving
  • Driving without a license

An arrest warrant on file in Derby Superior Court sheds light on the case against Torres, who is scheduled to appear in court Thursday (Feb. 22).

The case is complicated. Immediately after the crash, the passengers had trouble saying who was driving. But police eventually pinpointed Torres as the driver. Police said his injuries left behind DNA on a steering wheel.

A message seeking comment was sent last week to a lawyer who represented Torres.

According to the warrant, the events leading up to the fatal crash started in Bridgeport, where a car carrying Torres, Samuel, and a third, 18-year-old man, passed by a trio of teenage girls — 14, 15 and 16.

The girls didn’t know Torres, but one of them knew Samuel, so they got into the car.

The traveled onto Route 8 north toward the Valley, speeding and weaving through traffic, according to the arrest warrant. The teens urged the driver to slow down.

“The music was turned all the way up and the windows were down and the boys were all drunk and dancing around in he car,” the 16-year-old passenger said.

Police later learned that the car stopped off at a house in Beacon Falls so that Torres could allegedly sell crack to a customer. The man told police he purchased crack from Torres and picked him out of a photo lineup.

Then the crash happened.

Sgt. David Parrat, a Seymour officer with training in serious accident investigations, arrived on scene after the wreck, which was reported as in the area of 11 Rimmon St.

The Infiniti, which belonged to Torres’ girlfriend, was on its roof.

While looking at the car, Parrat noticed a bag of marijuana on the ground. The car also smelled like marijuana.

Police were initially told Torres was not the driver. But his admission paperwork at Yale-New Haven Hospital, where he was taken for treatment for an array of serious injuries, listed Torres as the “ejected driver of the crash.”

Torres and the 18-year-old couldn’t remember who was driving or where they were seated. That was the first of several rounds of interviews between police and the badly injured passengers.

Investigators, based on the interviews along with physical evidence at the scene, pieced together their contention that Torres was behind the wheel.

Tests showed his blood alcohol level was almost twice the legal limit and that he had marijuana in his system at the time of the wreck.

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