Government Police/Fire

Mother and Son Among Victims in Christmas Morning 2-Car Crash in West Hartford [Updated]

West Hartford Police Department hybrid SUV. Courtesy photo (we-ha.com file photo)

West Hartford Police on Monday identified the three victims of the crash that occurred on Simsbury Road near Timberwood Road, two of whom are related. [Updated, Tuesday, Dec. 27]

By Ronni Newton

A two-car crash just before dawn on Christmas morning has resulted in the death of three people, West Hartford Police said.

According to police, West Hartford Police and West Hartford Fire Department units responded to a report of a two-car collision on Simsbury Road, near Timberwood Road, at approximately 6:49 a.m. Sunday.

Lifesaving efforts were provided at the crash site, West Hartford Police Capt. Daniel Moffo said, but two of the occupants of the vehicles were pronounced dead at the scene. Another victim, who also received medical aid at the scene, was transported to an area hospital, but Moffo said in an email that “despite lifesaving measures, the third occupant was pronounced deceased at the hospital.”

Police on Monday identified the three victims as Raheim Dantae Barry Nelson, 17; Faye Dawson-Judkins, 52; and Novelette Bailey, 55. All three were residents of Hartford.

West Hartford Police confirmed Tuesday that Nelson was the son of Dawson-Judkins.

According to Canton Superintendent of Schools Kevin Case, Nelson was a junior at Canton High School and a member of the school’s soccer team.

“It is with great sadness that I inform you that Canton High School 11th grader, Raheim Dante Barry Nelsen, passed away yesterday morning along with his mother in a car accident in West Hartford,” Case wrote in a message to parents on Monday. “While we do not know specific details, the accident was reported on several news outlets.”

Canton High School Principal Andrew DiPippo provided the following information in the email: “Raheim joined Canton High School in August and immediately made a positive impact with his kindness and positive outlook. In a short period of time, he made an outstanding impression on all students and staff with his respectful and dedicated approach to school. While quiet, Raheim had a wonderful sense of humor who openly shared his friendly and supportive disposition with all. He was a major contributor to the team’s highly successful soccer program where he worked seamlessly with his new teammates.”

Bill Phelps, Canton High School boy soccer coach, stated in that email, “Raheim joined the soccer team this year and became an integral part of our soccer family. He was kind, dedicated, talented and much loved by his teammates and coaches.”

Canton High School had grief counselors at the school on Tuesday to assist students and staff.

The Canton Athletic Booster Club posted the following message on its Facebook page: “CHS lost a member of our family yesterday. We send our love and strength to all his friends and family. May Raheim and his Mom, be in all of our thoughts and prayers. He will be greatly missed,” the post noted, while also including a heart emoji and #forever14 in honor of the young man’s jersey number.

West Hartford Police did not provide any further details about the crash, and did not say whether or not the third victim was in the same car, the direction the cars were going, or what may have caused the crash.

Simsbury Road was closed in both directions  from Bloomfield Avenue to Mohegan Drive until just after 3 p.m. Sunday while the West Hartford Accident Reconstruction Team was on site investigating the crash, but the roadway has since reopened.

Anyone who has information regarding this incident is asked to contact West Hartford Police at 860-523-5203, or via the anonymous tip line email 860-570-8969 or by email at [email protected].

West Hartford Mayor Shari Cantor and town officials announced Sunday afternoon that a task force will be convened to develop action steps to address traffic and motor vehicle safety issues in town. Details will be announced soon.

In the past week there have now been five fatalities due to motor vehicle-related incidents in West Hartford, and this is the fourth serious motor vehicle-related incident in the past eight days.

On Tuesday evening, at approximately 5 p.m., 89-year-old Eugenia Yurovsky of West Hartford was struck and killed in a hit and run collision near the intersection of Boulevard and Whiting Lane. Police are continuing to search for the driver who fled in what was appeared to have been a white or light-colored sedan.

On Wednesday evening, also right around 5 p.m., a man was struck by a motor vehicle on Mohegan Drive. Police announced the following day that the victim, Carlos Galarza, 60, of Bridgeport, CT, had died.

On Saturday, Dec. 17, a pedestrian was transported to a local hospital with serious injuries after being hit by a vehicle on South Main Street near Memorial Road.

John Fitts, Valley Press, contributed to this report.

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