Prosecutor: West Haven man helped cover up brother's fatal hit-and-run in Seymour

DERBY — The brother of a driver accused of killing a Seymour couple in a hit-and-run crash last year has been arrested for intentionally misleading investigators, police said.

Riqui Irigoyen-Flores, 31, of West Haven, was charged with third-degree hindering prosecution, tampering with physical evidence and interfering with an officer.

Police charged his younger brother, Jair Irigoyen-Flores, weeks after the Dec. 10, 2021 crash on Bank Street in Seymour that killed James and Barbara Tamborra, both 81. Police said Jair Irigoyen-Flores fled the scene after the crash, and had purchased a one-way ticket to Mexico. He was apprehended outside his West Haven home the morning his flight was scheduled to leave after police said they received an anonymous tip about his alleged involvement in the crash.

Prosecutors now say Riqui Irigoyen-Flores helped cover up his brother's involvement in the crash, including helping to hide the Acura Jair Irigoyen-Flores was accused of driving, lying to police and leading them to a "nearly identical" vehicle to throw them off track.

"The entire Irigoyen-Flores family knew that the son, Jair, was involved in a fatal motor vehicle accident," Supervisory Assistant State’s Attorney Rebecca Barry said Thursday during Riqui Irigoyen-Flores' arraignment in state Superior Court in Derby. She requested the court hold his bond at $250,000.

But Judge Scott M. Jones said he would lower Riqui Irigoyen-Flores' bond to $20,000, noting he had to weigh the defendant's lack of prior convictions, past appearances in court, family ties, employment and community ties.

"The only thing that doesn't weigh in your favor is the seriousness of this incident," Jones said. "Fortunately for you, you're not alleged to have been the one who actually caused the death, but you allegedly facilitated hindering the prosecution of the individual." 

Ken Tamborra, the slain couple's older son, expressed disappointment at the lower bond amount after the arraignment. 

"I would assume because it's so low he's going to get out now," Tamborra said.

He said his family is doing all right and thanked the Seymour and state police for arresting Riqui Irigoyen-Flores.

"It's tough, it's still day to day, you know we come back every two months and just relive the whole thing over and over again," he said.

According to Seymour Police, a dark-colored SUV struck the Tamborras as they crossed Bank Street while leaving a funeral around 6 p.m. on Dec. 10, 2021. James Tamborra died shortly after the crash, while Barbara died several days later, officials said. 

Following the crash, Jair Irigoyen-Flores "fled the scene in a reckless manner and hid his Acura SUV that was involved in that motor vehicle accident," Barry said Thursday. Seymour police first interviewed Riqui Irigoyen-Flores on Dec. 22, 2021 after the anonymous tip put his brother "on their radar," she said. 

"The defendant lied to police about the car that his brother was driving the night of the the motor vehicle accident. He helped his brother remove and hide the motor vehicle involved in the motor vehicle accident," Barry said.

She said the older brother "facilitated access to a nearly identical motor vehicle" to trip up investigators and knew about his brother's one-way trip to Mexico, even going with him to say good-bye to friends, she added. 

Between the date of the crash and when police obtained the anonymous tip that led them to identity Jair Irigoyen-Flores as the alleged driver, the Tamborra family appeared on television to beg the public for help in the case, Barry noted.

From the time of the crash until the car was located by investigators on Jan. 11 of this year, "this defendant knew the whereabouts of the motor vehicle, he lied and aided his brother in covering up his crimes," she added. 

The bail commissioner said Riqui Irigoyen-Flores has lived in Connecticut for seven years and has had full-time employment for the past five years. He qualified for release on a promise to appear in court, the bail commissioner said. 

"He stands here today with absolutely zero prior convictions," Jason Spilka, Irigoyen-Flores' attorney, told the court. He described him as an "active member" of his household, who helps his diabetic mother and his sister with her college classes.

"The whole family lives in West Haven right now and my client and his family goes to church every Sunday, so there's strong ties to the community, strong ties to church groups in the area," Spilka said. "They have attended the same church for the past 20 years."

He asked the court for the bail commissioner's suggestion of a release on a promise to appear.

"This incident is stemming from December of 2021, so there has been about 11 months since the alleged incident has occurred, and respectfully, your honor, there is nothing that shows the defendant's appearance at his next court date would be in jeopardy." 

Riqui Irigoyen-Flores is due in court on Dec. 20. As conditions of his release, he would be required to surrender his passport and be monitored by GPS.

Jair Irigoyen-Flores was charged with two counts misconduct with a motor vehicle and one count evading responsibility. He is due to appear in court on Dec. 6 and remains in custody.