Investigation continues into deadly hit-and-run


Staff Writer

University of Connecticut (UConn) police confirmed last week that they have possession of a vehicle which may have struck and killed a freshman from Manalapan.

Police would not say where the vehicle was found or who owns it. No arrests had been announced in the case as of Feb. 5.

Carlee Wines, 19, of Manalapan, who was a freshman at UConn’s campus in Storrs, was struck by a vehicle at about 2 a.m. Jan. 20 while she was attempting to cross North Eagleville Road at a crosswalk. Wines died on Jan. 22 at Hartford Hospital from injuries sustained in the hit-and-run incident.

UConn police Maj. Ronald Blicher confirmed that a gray 2004 Nissan Armada with front-end damage, “consistent with what we are looking for,” is in the possession of and being investigated by UConn police.

“We have a vehicle in our custody that we believe was involved in the accident. Damage to the vehicle is consistent with police expectations,” Blicher said.

He would not say who owns the vehicle or where it was discovered and seized.

When asked for an update on Feb. 1, Blicher would not comment on a published statement from St. Bonaventure University, Olean, N.Y., which said three St. Bonaventure students were being questioned in connection with the incident that killed Wines. Published reports said three male students were being questioned by police, including the alleged driver, reportedly a freshman who, according to other students at the university, left St. Bonaventure after the UConn incident.

St. Bonaventure is a private Franciscan university with 2,000 undergraduates.

Blicher did confirm that North Eagleville Road is near the perimeter of the UConn campus. He said the UConn campus and roads are open to and traveled by the public as well as by UConn students and personnel.

According to Blicher, North Eagleville Road has a 25 mph speed limit. He said that under Connecticut state law, motorists must yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk.

In a previous report, Blicher confirmed that Wines was struck by a vehicle just as she stepped off the sidewalk curb and into the crosswalk.

When speaking with a News Transcript reporter on Feb. 1, Blicher was asked if alcohol is believed to have been a factor in the incident. He said that aspect remains under investigation.

“It would be premature of me to discuss alcohol as a factor,” he said.

Blicher was asked if the investigation had determined where Wines was coming from and where she was headed when she was struck. He said he could not comment on that question since that is also part of the investigation.

When asked if Wines was in the company of friends when she was struck by the vehicle, Blicher said she was with a group of people when the incident occurred.

Blicher said a UConn police car was on general patrol in the immediate area and “rolled up on it within 30 seconds to a minute” after Wines had been struck. The officer arrived before witnesses could call police, he said.

Witnesses told police the vehicle which had struck Wines fled toward the nearby entrance of a state highway. Blicher said the witnesses were able to provide a general description of the vehicle, but were unable to provide a partial or full license plate number.

Blicher said the seized vehicle will continue to be examined by UConn police and Connecticut state police. He said he could not discuss the ownership of the vehicle that is in possession of police or the number of people believed to have been in the vehicle that struck Wines.