Police: Driver tried to blame critically injured woman for fatal Shelton crash
BRIDGEPORT — A truck driver instructor with a history of drunken driving was ordered held in lieu of $500,000 bail Friday for allegedly killing two people and injuring another in a February crash on River Road in Shelton.
Rakiem Reid, 30, of Derby, was brought back from North Carolina where police said he fled following the fatal crash. He is charged with two counts of second-degree manslaughter with a motor vehicle, second-degree assault with a motor vehicle, operating under the influence of alcohol, reckless driving and interfering with an officer.
The crash, which occurred Feb. 9 on River Road, claimed the lives of Lily Pirulli, 20, and Adrian Miles, 31. Meghan Nealy, 26, was critically injured.
Reid was treated for his injuries and released, according to police at the time.
“During the investigation Reid claimed that Meghan Nealy was driving the vehicle when the crash occurred,” Shelton police Detective Richard Bango said. “Members of the detective and traffic division conducted an intensive investigation which included obtaining search warrants, video surveillance, interviews, statements, and forensic evidence which led to an arrest warrant for Reid for being the operator of the vehicle when the crash occurred.”
Police initially could not find Reid after receiving a warrant, but he was arrested in North Carolina April 21, Bango said. He was brought back to Connecticut by Shelton detectives Thursday, Bango said.
“Based on the extradition status, his criminal history of alcohol-related offenses and these charges involving alcohol-related motor vehicle deaths, I am setting the bond at $500,000,” Superior Court Judge Joan Alexander said during Reid’s arraignment hearing as members of the victims’ families sat in the courtroom. They later declined comment.
Reid, who said he could not make bail, pleaded with the judge not to send him to the Bridgeport Correctional Center.
“Corrections is going to put you where they decide to put you,” the judge responded. She then continued the case to June 19.
“This was a serious incident involving the loss of two lives and extensive injuries to a third person,” Milford State’s Attorney Margaret Kelley told the judge, asking that a high bail be set for Reid. “He then went to North Carolina,” she added.
Reid was represented during the arraignment by Public Defender Anne Marie Kindley but he told the judge he was hiring his own lawyer. Kindley urged the judge to set a much lower bail.
The bail commissioner told the judge that Reid, the father of three children, had been living with with his mother while working as a tractor-trailer driving instructor. In 2013, he received probation after being convicted of operating while under suspension and drug charges. He was convicted twice of violating that probation and was later sentenced to 90 days in prison. The bail commissioner said Reid had three previous convictions for operating under the influence.
The February crash killed Pirulli, who graduated from Masuk High School, and Miles, who attended Ansonia High School. They, police said, were passengers along with Nealy in a BMW driven by Reid that collided with a Toyota RAV4 around 11:30 p.m. on Feb. 9, just yards away from the entrance to Southbank Park.
Shortly after the crash, Hannah Perry, a friend of Pirulli’s, described her as “a beautiful spirit who touched the hearts of everyone she met” in the days after the crash, and noted that “she will be forever missed.”
Pirulli was the daughter of longtime Bridgeport police Officer Mario Pirulli.
Bridgeport City Councilwoman Denese Taylor-Moye, who knew Miles since he was a youngster, described him as “a wonderful young man” who “loved his family, his girlfriend and his 4-year-old daughter.”