On night of fatal crash, many callers reported erratic driver

Waterford — According to an arrest warrant affidavit The Day obtained Friday, the East Lyme woman who is charged in an accident that left a man dead on Route 85 in January may have been suffering from a medical condition at the time.

According to the arrest report, victim Kim Weeks of New London likely was hit Jan. 18 by Shirley Langford, 74, as she was driving south on Route 85.

Langford was driving erratically in the hour before the crash, according to seven callers who contacted police the evening of the incident, according to the affidavit. One caller reported that he followed her vehicle through Salem and Montville as she swerved back and forth across her lane.

When she met with police on Jan. 19, Langford said she didn't remember any accident the night before, and only could recall that she was pulled over by police and transported to the hospital for a medical condition that was redacted in the report.

Police said Weeks likely was vaulted over the guiderail and fell down to the bottom of an embankment, where he lay parallel to the road and difficult to see from Route 85. The caller who reported his body the next morning was driving a school bus, which was tall enough to give a better view of the scene.

Shortly after Weeks was found, Waterford police contacted the state trooper who had stopped Langford Jan. 18, the night of the crash, on I-95 south in New London.

When she was stopped that night, her vehicle had passenger-side damage, including a broken headlight, as well as a cracked windshield, and she was transported for an undisclosed medical issue. Police noted her vehicle was involved with a separate incident in which she allegedly backed into a vehicle and fled the scene in New London. It was not clear from the affidavit if that incident happened the same night.

When Waterford police visited her at her home on Jan. 19, Langford was lying on the couch and said she didn't remember being in an accident and was feeling unwell. She told officers she was driving back from work in East Haven at 5 p.m. on Jan. 18 and her next memory was being pulled over by police and being brought to the hospital. The affidavit shows she owns Interim Healthcare based in Norwich.

State police said medical records from her visit to Lawrence + Memorial Hospital included medical conditions, which were redacted in the report, but no alcohol or other narcotics or medications were present in her blood at the time.

During the investigation, police were able to piece together a timeline of events that occurred before the crash.

State police at Troop E said they were notified by Troop F of reports that someone in Langford's vehicle was driving erratically on I-95 northbound in East Lyme. Troop E received five more calls starting at 5:54 p.m. reporting the vehicle as it traveled into Waterford.

Intending to intercept the minivan at the Gold Star Bridge, police next received a call at 6:34 p.m. reporting the vehicle was heading west on Route 82 toward Salem. The caller followed the minivan, flashing his headlights to get the driver's attention, but the driver continued on and the caller left as the minivan was heading south on Route 85 near the I-395 on-ramp.

Police said the crash that killed Weeks likely occurred between 6:34 p.m. and 7:33 p.m., when Langford was stopped by state police on I-95. Waterford police visited the auto body shop in New London where Langford's minivan was towed, and found bits of fabric and a small amount of blood on the outside that matched Weeks' DNA. Broken pieces of plastic found at the scene also matched damaged sections of her vehicle.

Langford was charged with negligent homicide with a motor vehicle, evading responsibility and failure to drive right by Waterford police. She was released with a promise to appear in New London Superior Court on June 5.

 n.lynch@theday.com

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