Driver in fatal accident sentenced to four years

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Manuel Esteves
Manuel Esteves

NAUGATUCK — A Seymour man who killed his friend in a drunken-driving accident has been ordered to serve four years in prison.

And, so he always remembers, a judge ordered him to make a $100 donation to a charity every year on the anniversary of the crash.

Manuel Esteves, 21, was driving drunk at excessive speeds on a wet Seymour roadway in October 2012 after a night of partying. On that rainy night, he passed a vehicle he was racing with at high speed on South Main Street before losing control of his Honda Civic around a corner. He struck a utility pole head-on around 1 a.m.

Korey Jordan, 19, of Naugatuck, was a passenger in the car and became trapped in the vehicle when it crashed. He was treated by EMTs on scene and later died at Waterbury Hospital.

Esteves pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter with a motor vehicle and second-degree assault with a motor vehicle. During his sentencing Tuesday, numerous friends and family members of both Esteves and Jordan, who were close friends, pleaded with Judge Karen Nash Sequino to spare Esteves jail time or give him a reduced sentence, according to the Valley Independent Sentinel. He faced up to six years in prison.

Esteves was arrested a month after the crash when he turned himself in after learning of a warrant for his arrest. That warrant tells a tale of teenagers looking for fun at a party in the woods that included excessive drinking on the night before Halloween. Esteves drank heavily before getting behind the wheel, according to the affidavit.

Police said he had a blood-alcohol level of nearly eight times the legal limit for people under age 21, which is 0.02 percent, and nearly two times the legal limit for adults, which is 0.08 percent. Police concluded that excessive speed and alcohol were contributing factors in the crash.

Sequino said she had to deliver a sentence that might deter others from drinking and driving. She sentenced Esteves to 10 years, suspended after four years, followed by five years’ probation.

Korey Jordan
Korey Jordan

While on probation, Esteves must seek substance abuse and mental health evaluation and treatment, submit to random urine tests for drugs and alcohol, donate $100 to a charity every year in Jordan’s name on the anniversary of the accident, stay out of bars and liquor stores and perform 200 hours of community service.

Jordan, who lived with his mother on Anderson Street, was a graduate of Emmett O’Brien Technical High School in Ansonia, where he studied heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

His parents, Kenneth Jordan Sr. and Kimberly Barbera-Spencer, are suing Esteves and two others involved in the crash — Joseph Feraca and Jordan Ballolli. Feraca was racing Esteves in a car owned by Ballolli, according to court documents. Jordan Sr. and Barbera-Spencer are seeking at least $30,000 under a state law that allows plaintiffs to claim double or triple damages in wrongful death suits involving certain motor vehicle violations.