GROTON — A one-car crash along Interstate 95 South on New Year’s Day killed a 25-year-old New London man and left the driver and a second passenger with injuries, the police said.
Connecticut State Police said Raymond Droz Rivera, a front seat passenger, suffered fatal injuries in the crash, which occurred just after 7 a.m. along I-95 South near Exit 88. The police said Rivera was not wearing a seat belt and suffered significant injuries that led to his being pronounced dead at the scene.
The driver, identified as 25-year-old Michael Pena-Disla, of Pawtucket, R.I., and another passenger, 19-year-old Providence resident Shanelle Maria Gomes, were wearing seat belts at the time of the crash, state police said. They were taken by ambulance to Lawrence + Memorial Hospital in New London with injuries that were not life threatening, the police said.
Firefighters with several area departments were called to the crash after multiple witnesses reported a 2005 Acura was driving in the center lane when it spun out of control and went off the road and into a wooded area in the highway median, striking a tree before coming to a stop.
The police said the crash caused significant trauma to Rivera, who was thrown from the car as a result of not being buckled, while the other two became trapped inside. Responders with the Old Mystic, Mystic and
Arriving firefighters, which included responders with the Old Mystic and Poquonnock Bridge fire departments, helped Pena-Disla and Gomes escape from the car and they were taken to the hospital for further treatment. Staff with Mystic River Ambulance and L+M medics aided in the medical response.
The crash led to several lane closures along I-95 South, causing a significant holiday backup as a section of highway was closed beginning at Exit 90 and remained closed for several hours.
An investigation remains ongoing, state police said Monday, and any witnesses are asked to call Troop E in Montville at 860-848-6511.