Naugatuck police probe key to conviction in 2017 crash

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NAUGATUCK – After a meticulous reconstruction of evidence following a two-vehicle collision on Route 68 in 2017, Naugatuck police managed to piece together a compelling case, leading to the conviction of a 38-year-old Ansonia man.

The trial ended Feb. 20 with a swift decision by a jury of six, who found Raymond Grullon guilty of larceny of a motor vehicle and evading a motor vehicle crash resulting in serious physical injury after less than two hours of deliberations.

He could face up to 40 years in prison when he is sentenced by Waterbury Superior Court Judge Hunchu Kwak on May 24.

Grullon, who had been free on $150,000 bond, was taken into custody by judicial marshals Tuesday after the judge increased his bond to $400,000.

On Oct. 6, 2017, state police initially spotted a white Audi, reported stolen months earlier from a Waterbury residence, speeding along Route 8. A routine traffic stop quickly escalated into a high-speed pursuit after Grullon fled the scene. Despite a trooper’s attempt to halt Grullon, the pursuit was aborted due to safety concerns for other motorists.

Shortly thereafter, Naugatuck police responded to a crash involving the same stolen Audi.
With little to go on initially, police work slowly unraveled the mystery.
A neighbor who saw the aftermath of the crash identified a man near the Audi holding a McDonald’s bag. A trooper also noticed the McDonald’s bag before Grullon sped away from the stop.

“That was it. (Naugatuck police) really had nothing at that point at the scene,” Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Marc Ramia said after the verdict. “Naugatuck did a great job processing the vehicle (for evidence).”

Crucial evidence emerged from the wreckage: a key ring with assorted store discount cards, a McDonald’s straw from inside the vehicle and a notebook with an Allstate claim number, all of which pointed to Grullon.

Naugatuck police sent the straw and part of the air bag to the state crime lab for DNA evidence, and it came back as a match to Grullon.

Testimony from Naugatuck police officers, including Lt. Danielle Bailey and Detective Aaron Borys, provided additional layers of clarity to the sequence of events.

One of the two victims in the car struck by the Audi suffered serious leg injuries and testified at the trial. The second occupant, who was ejected from the car and lost consciousness for a period of time, did not testify because she had no recollection of the crash, Ramia said.

Grullon’s defense attorney, J. Patten Brown, expressed reservations regarding the verdict.
“While I certainly respect the members of the jury in the jury system, I do not think there was sufficient evidence to convict my client,” he said. “People in general these days are blinded by the words DNA so much that I think we are all incapable of analyzing it in a way that makes sense in the context of a criminal trial. So we will appeal, but I do think the jury did their best.”