An Everett, Mass. woman charged with causing the April 8, 2011 crash on Interstate 395 that killed Lisa Delprete and seriously injured another man was driving 100 mph and was under the influence of alcohol, according to a court document unsealed today in New London Superior Court.
Dina Senibaldi, 26, appeared in court today on upgraded charges, including second-degree manslaughter with a motor vehicle while intoxicated. She was arrested following the incident, but the state added the new charges following the completion of a state police investigation.
Delprete, a 45-year-old mother of two and food service business owner from North Haven, was killed, and Edmund Davis, 52, of New Haven was severely injured when the Dodge Avenger that Senibaldi was driving rear-ended their Jeep Grand Cherokee as they drove in the right hand lane of I-395 southbound about 0.7 miles south of exit 77 in Waterford. The Jeep flipped onto its passenger side and landed on a guard rail, trapping Delprete in the passenger seat.
Delprete’s widow, Gerard Delprete, was in court with a victim advocate from Mothers Against Drunk Driving this morning, and Davis, the injured driver, appeared with his family members and attorneys. Senibaldi appeared with her attorney, Michael Blanchard.
Senibaldi is free on a total of $125,000 bond, an amount prosecutor Christa L. Baker and the Davis’ attorney, Joseph Chiarelli, consider too low. Baker asked Judge Kevin P. McMahon to increase the bond to $225,000 based on the seriousness of the charges and the strength of the state’s case. She said Senibaldi’s blood alcohol content, tested some time after the accident because Senibaldi refused to submit to field sobriety tests, was .110. The legal limit for driving in Connecticut is .08.
Chiarelli, who represents Davis in a civil lawsuit, asked for a $500,000 bond while emphasizing Senibaldi’s history of prostitution convictions in Massachusetts and Florida and her alleged failure to appear for a trial in a pending Florida case. He noted she did not have a valid driver’s license when the crash occurred.
“This woman is a substantial flight risk,” he said.
Senibaldi, a small woman who has significantly altered her appearance since her first court date by changing her hair color from blond to red, stood quietly with her hands clasped in front of her while the attorneys argued their cases. Her lawyer, Blanchard, said Senibaldi has appeared in court every time her case was on the docket and refuted Chiarelli’s allegations that Senibaldi is a fugitive in the Florida case. Blanchard bristled when Chiarelli said Senibaldi, who was found with Oxycodone pills and marijuana after the crash, is a heroin addict.
Judge McMahon kept the bond at $125,000, noting that the facts of the case have not changed since the bail amounts were set. He noted that vehicular manslaughter cases like this are the worst kind he has to deal with, but that the bond amount in this case is comparable to the bonds that have been set in similar cases.
Davis, who had multiple surgeries for a severe scalp laceration and facial injuries, broken ribs and collapsed lung, was not happy with the judge’s decision to keep the bond at $125,000. He said it seems as if the court officials have already made up their minds about the case. He said he and Delprete were returning home from Foxwoods Resort Casino when Senibaldi’s car slammed into the rear of his car and that the last thing he remembered was the tumbling jeep.
According to the arrest warrant affidavit prepared by state Trooper Daniel Richter, Senibaldi was Richter detected an odor of alcohol on Senibaldi at the crash scene. She told a trooper that another vehicle had pulled out in front of her, causing her to crash. She said she was coming from Everett, Mass., and had consumed “a couple of sips” of alcohol at a friend’s house. Senibaldi and her passenger, Marirose Lynch, were both sitting on a curb, “crying hysterical” when police arrived, according to the warrant. Lynch, who was treated at Lawrence & Memorial Hospital, told investigators she had not seen Senibaldi drink anything at her house and that the women were on their way to Mohegan Sun to meet some friends. Since they were south of the exit leading to the Uncasville casino, it is unclear whether they were lost.