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Man involved in crash that killed 3 year old faces judge

The man involved in a crash that left at three-year-old dead in Waterbury faced a judge on Wednesday.

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Joseph Wenzel IV
, Matt McFarland
WATERBURY, CT — The man involved in a crash that left at three-year-old dead in Waterbury faced a judge on Wednesday.

Police said 3-year-old Justin Quiroz was one of four people that were hit when police were trying to stop a car.

Zekhi Lee is now charged with manslaughter and felony evading after police say he took off when members of Waterbury's Vice Squad tried stopping him Tuesday afternoon.

"Its a terrible, terrible tragedy, one of the worst I've seen throughout my career and our hearts go out to them," said Waterbury Police Deputy Chief Fred Spagnolo.

According to police, Lee wouldn't pull over. Rather the 18-year-old, who told police he only has a permit, kept going.

Police estimated that he was driving at speed of 60-65 miles per hour when he crashed into another car at the intersection of South Main and East Liberty, before ending up on the sidewalk and hitting two women, 3-year-old Quiroz, and a 1-and-a-half-year-old girl.

Quiroz was riding in a stroller on the sidewalk when he was struck by the Acura. He was rushed to Saint Mary's Hospital where police said he died from injuries suffered in the crash.

Police said 26-year-old Maria, 21-year-old Rosa, and 1-year-old Aylin Morocho suffered serious injuries after they were also hit on the sidewalk. They were rushed to Saint Mary's Hospital but police did not release their conditions.

Roman Toro was driving a Toyota Corolla that was hit by Lee and was taken to Saint Mary's Hospital with minor injuries.

"The neighborhood is devastated," said State Rep. Geraldo Reyes Jr., who represents the neighborhood where the crash happened.

He said the community will rally around the families impacted and be there for them in their time of need.

"This neighborhood has been very concerned, very supportive and not only will the Hispanic Coalition and folks like myself and other folks in the political world, we'll all get involved and help this family out in any way, shape, or form," Reyes said.

Lee, who police said was not injured, tried to run away but was arrested a short distance from the scene.

Police nabbed Lee after they say he tried running away following the crash.

As for why he took off originally, he told police he didn't know who was trying to stop him, but then realized who it was when he saw the red and blue lights.

Court documents said "Lee said he was thinking about all these black people dying and that he didn't want to get caught in any of that because he wasn't trying to die. Lee didn't know what was going on but someone was chasing him so he continued to try and get away."

In fact, Lee would allegedly tell the detective that at the time of the crash, the police car wasn't keeping up with him and that he "almost had lost him."

In addition to not having a license, the car Lee was driving was not registered and had no insurance.

Police charged Lee with interfering with a police investigation, however, they anticipate more charges to be filed against him. He's being held on a $1.25 million bond and is due back in court next month.

The Connecticut State Police Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Squad is assuming the investigation and State Police Western District Major Crime is assisting them.

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