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Bond increased for father in Ledyard DUI case where car ended up in swimming pool

By Karen Florin

Publication: theday.com

Published June 24. 2014 12:41PM   Updated June 25. 2014 12:52AM

A father whose two young girls were seriously injured after he fled from police and crashed his car into a Ledyard swimming pool last month was taken into custody Tuesday after a judge increased his bond to $85,000 cash or surety.

Twenty-five-year-old Marcus Harvin’s 2-year-old daughter’s arm was nearly severed in the May 25 crash, and her 4-year-old sister suffered a broken ankle. His blood alcohol content was more than three times the legal limit, and toxicology tests indicated he had marijuana in his system, according to Ledyard police.

Harvin, of New Britain, had posted a $25,000 nonsurety bond prior to his June 10 court appearance on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, two counts of second-degree assault with a motor vehicle and two counts of risk of injury to a minor. His case was continued to Tuesday, and he appeared in court with attorney Jack O’Donnell of New Haven.

Police had initially charged Harvin with first-degree reckless endangerment, reckless driving and failure to obey an officer’s signal. They continued investigating and applied for a warrant for the drunken driving, assault and risk of injury charges.

Judge Kevin P. McMahon, who signed the warrant, said in New London Superior Court Tuesday that he had intended to set the bond at $25,000 cash, but had mistakenly made it a nonsurety bond, which required Harvin to post only a percentage of the bond amount.

The judge granted prosecutor Sarah W. Bowman’s request to increase the bond based on the severity of the children’s injuries. Harvin’s attorney argued against the bond increase, saying his client is employed by AT&T and had made his court appearances.

Harvin had not posted the additional bond as of Tuesday afternoon.

During his court appearance, the prosecutor noted she was charging Harvin additionally as a second-time DUI offender because he had been convicted of drunken driving in 2012.

According to the arrest warrant, state police received reports of an intoxicated driver traveling south on Route 12 and asked Ledyard police to keep an eye out because the driver was believed to be heading their way.

A 911 caller had reported seeing a black Acura parked in the roadway at Routes 2A and 12 in Preston. The witness said a man appeared to be asleep behind the wheel and two small children were in the back seat. When the witness approached the car and knocked on the window, the driver — later identified as Harvin — took off south on Route 12 toward Ledyard.

At about 12:53 a.m., a Ledyard officer spotted a vehicle that matched the description parked in a Henny Penny parking lot. The car was running and Harvin was asleep behind the wheel, the warrant said. The officer said two children in the back also were asleep.

The officer parked his cruiser behind Harvin’s car and knocked on the driver’s side window. The officer said he immediately smelled the odor of alcohol and noted that Harvin’s eyes were bloodshot and that his speech was slurred.

Harvin initially gave police a false name and admitted to having had “a few” alcoholic drinks at Mohegan Sun casino prior to driving. The warrant did not indicate whether the children had also been at the casino or whether he had picked them up somewhere else.

After telling him to turn off the car, the officer told Harvin he would administer a field sobriety test to determine whether it was safe for Harvin to drive. When the officer returned to his cruiser, Harvin took off south on Route 12 toward Groton at a high rate of speed, the warrant says.

The Ledyard officer turned on his lights and sirens and started to follow the Acura, according to the warrant, but after a brief time broke off the pursuit because of the young children in the car and concerns for their safety. But the officer continued to drive along Route 12 and came upon the crash scene about 1 a.m., near the intersection with Long Cove Road.

Police said Harvin’s car had left the roadway and had crashed into a telephone pole before ending up submerged in a swimming pool at a Baldwin Hill Road address. Officers quickly entered the pool to rescue the children, who were trapped in the car. They then assisted in freeing Harvin. In a subsequent search, they found Harvin in possession of a small bag of marijuana.

The 2-year-old girl’s right forearm was partially severed, connected to her body only by a small amount of skin. She underwent surgeries to reconnect the vein and arteries in her arm and remove dead tissue and is expected to have additional surgeries. The 4-year-old was treated and released from Lawrence + Memorial Hospital.

Harvin also was taken to L+M, where blood samples were drawn. An analysis found his blood alcohol content was 0.293, and an urine analysis came back positive for marijuana use.

Harvin has two pending domestic violence cases involving the children’s mother, according to court testimony. Those cases are expected to be transferred from New Britain Superior Court to New London.

McMahon on Tuesday appointed guardian ad litem Jean Park to represent the children’s interests. He ordered Harvin to have contact with his children only with a supervisor approved by the state Department of Children and Families. Harvin’s next court date is July 21.

k.florin@theday.com

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