PLYMOUTH - A Watertown teen turned himself in on Monday to face charges stemming from a car accident in July that tragically took the life of a 17-year-old and injured six other passengers in the vehicle.
Hunter Pero, 17, was arraigned Monday in Bristol Superior Court, where officials said he has no previous convictions. His attorney, Eugene Riccio, said Pero had been employed prior to the crash, but that his parents have “basically put him on house arrest” since the accident. They have not allowed him to drive at all, Riccio added.
Police allege that Pero, was driving about 63 mph and had marijuana in his system during a horrific crash on July 29, when his vehicle jumped the curb on Town Hill Road, struck a pine tree and spun around multiple times before coming to rest in a grassy area, according to the arrest warrant. The accident happened at about 12:23 a.m. at the Cross Road intersection - a 25 mph zone - where police say Pero failed to negotiate a curve.
Vincent Cammarata, 17, of Watertown, who was in the front passenger seat of Pero’s 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt, had to be extricated from the vehicle after he was found unconscious and unresponsive. He was taken aboard Life Star to Hartford Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
According to the warrant, Pero and three others in the vehicle fled the scene before police arrived. Two other teens stayed near the car and another was unconscious in the backseat. He regained consciousness before police arrived.
Pero was the only one of those who left who came back, police wrote in the warrant. Investigators said he acknowledged that he had been driving and left the area because he was scared. His arms were bleeding, and he was taken to Waterbury Hospital.
Pero told police he had not been drinking, and admitted he had smoked marijuana about seven hours before the crash. A blood sample later confirmed he had cannabis in his system and no alcohol, the warrant said.
Pero had seven passengers in his vehicle, after picking up a number of people at the Terryville McDonald’s when a friend’s car broke down. The passengers who survived the crash sustained injuries ranging from minor scrapes or bruising to concussions. No one in the vehicle was wearing a seatbelt, police believe.
The adults in the vehicle have been identified as Jonathan Gonzalez, 19, of Southington, Jared Rollo, 18, of Watertown, and Dan Desanto, 18, of Watertown. The other passengers, who have not been identified, included a 15-year-old male and two 17-year-old males.
Multiple passengers in Pero’s vehicle told police they were looking to go to a party in Bristol but heard that it had been cancelled. Shortly thereafter, they met up with another group of friends whose vehicle had broken down, and they all piled into the Cobalt. The group then got lost driving through Plymouth. Just before the crash, multiple people in the car told Pero he was going too fast and needed to slow down, the warrant said.
Pero is facing charges of misconduct with a motor vehicle, first-degree reckless endangerment, reckless driving, driving under the influence, speeding, crowded seats, failure to maintain proper lane, failure to obey state traffic signs or devices, failure to secure in seatbelt, failure to wear a seatbelt and four counts of risk of injury to a minor.
Pero posted $50,000 bond shortly after his hearing. He has been placed under house arrest by a judge while his case is pending, and is scheduled to appear on Feb. 20 in New Britain Superior Court - where the most serious matters in the area are adjudicated.
Justin Muszynski can be reached at 860-973-1809 or email@example.com.