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Monday, March 19 News

Cops with DUI warrant hunt for driver in Cumberland Farms crash

By Genevieve Reilly

The Bridgeport woman who slammed into Cumberland Farms earlier this week -- a crash that sent four people to the hospital and damaged five other cars -- had a blood-alcohol level more than three times the legal limit and was driving about 70 mph when she sped off Interstate 95.

Police Chief Gary MacNamara said Friday a warrant for the arrest of Rosa Blanca Chavarria-Medina on numerous charges has been signed, but said the woman left St. Vincent's Medical Center in Bridgeport, where she was taken immediately after the Monday night crash for treatment of minor injuries, and has yet to be located for the warrant to be served.

"She has several different pieces of state ID all with different addresses," MacNamara said of the 31-year-old Chavarria-Medina. "We certainly want to arrest this woman so that she doesn't hurt anyone else."

The chief said she previously was charged with driving under the influence Westport.

The arrest warrant charges Chavarria-Medina with operating under the influence, operating with a suspended license, failure to obey a stop sign, failure to grant half the highway, reckless driving and reckless endangerment.

"We're actively looking for her now," MacNamara said Friday.

Police, after obtaining blood-test results from the hospital, said they show Chavarria-Medina's blood-alcohol content was 0.30 -- the state's legal limit is 0.08 -- and also determined her Nissan Maxima was traveling at about 70 mph when she careened off I-95's southbound Exit 24, crossed Chambers Street and triggered a chain-reaction crash involving five other cars at the Cumberland Farms gas station.

Surveillance video from the car dealership across Kings Highway East from Cumberland Farms shows Chavarria-Medina's car speeding off the highway, glancing off several vehicles and barriers in front of gas pumps, and stopping only after it rammed the building.

"Anyone who has watched that video would clearly realize how closely we avoided a tragedy," MacNamara said.

Chavarria-Medina's Maxima first sideswiped another vehicle on the exit ramp, crossed Chambers Street without braking, hit a gas pump barrier and sideswiped a second car parked at the pumps. Her car than struck a third car driving through the lot, and that car slid into a fourth car, which Chavarria-Medina also struck. At that point, police said, her car became airborne, hit the store and sideswiped a fifth car as it came to a rest.

The driver of the car that was traveling through the lot, Daniel Chis, was the most seriously injured. According to police, he is being treated for a variety of injuries, including several broken vertebrae.

The others had non-life-threatening injuries.