HARTFORD -- Just after 11 o'clock Tuesday night, 22-year-old Reny Alfonzo-Jimeno, of Hartford was killed when a stolen car ran a red light crashing into two other cars.
"You got the family of a 22-year-old girl who is pretty pissed off that some of these kids are out on the streets driving around stolen cars at 100 mph at 15-years-old when they can't even control the vehicles, let alone a car they've never driven before," said Hartford Deputy Chief of Police, Brian Foley.
That crash, also sent two other people to the hospital with minor injuries, while the suspect fled the scene on foot.
"We tried a K9 track that was not successful but we have some confidence that we will determine who the driver of that vehicle was," said Foley.
This was just one of two crashes that happened in the span of six hours in Hartford. This first crash involved a car that was stolen from a driveway in New Britain with the keys still in the ignition, Monday morning.
Then, just a few hours later, another car that was stolen from West Hartford, also with the keys left in the ignition, crashed into a brick pillar.
"Just before 5 a.m., we had another accident, this was just a few blocks away," said Foley.
That accident happened at the entrance to Trinity College, and it was the second time a crash happened at this exact location. Back on January 1st, there was a fatal crash at this exact intersection.
"At least three occupants in that vehicle," said Foley. "One male, 16-years-old taken to Connecticut Children's, he's in critical condition, he just got out of a cat scan, we do believe he will survive."
Two 14-year-old girls were also in the car and taken to the hospital with minor injuries.
"You're seeing the worst case scenarios play out before us where the kids have no fear of the juvenile justice system," said Foley.
People we spoke to said it makes them nervous to hear of teens stealing and crashing cars.
"Very fearful, especially when I have my granddaughter with me," said Michael Forschino of Windsor Locks. " There are laws there, but they got to be enforced because you're a child or underage you're not subject to the laws that an adult is subject to but you're doing an adult crime, and I think this is a problem with a lot of things."
Others saying accidents like these make them think about their loved ones.
"I just got up to this, it's sad, of course," said Brenda Rodriguez of Hartford. "How you going to feel? I have kids, I have a family, you know, it's sad."
Police said it's a problem felt by all those involved with law enforcement.
"I know the prosecutes in the juvenile court are just as frustrated as we are, we talk to them all the time, and it is just a tough situation that lawmakers are going to have to figure out in the state," said Foley. "Until then, we will be cleaning up the mess here in the city."
Police urge people to not leave their cars unlocked, or their keys in the ignition. Both crashes still remain under investigation.
On March 1, Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin will hold a meeting with regional and State leaders to discuss the recent spike in vehicle fatalities. He will also call for a coordinated strategy to reduce car thefts by juveniles and young adults.
Mayor Bronin released the following statement:
“There’s been a disturbing spike in vehicle crashes with fatalities or serious injuries, even as we’ve had fewer accidents overall in Hartford. We’re particularly concerned about the role that both drugs and stolen vehicles are playing in these tragic incidents,” said Mayor Bronin.
“Our Police Department is working hard to make our streets safer through increased speed and DUI enforcement, but we need to work together as a region and as a State to crack down on car thefts.
As we saw again this morning when cars stolen from West Hartford and New Britain were involved in crashes in Hartford, car theft is a regional problem that demands close coordination between towns, as well as with the State Police and with State and federal prosecutors.”