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    Sunday, October 01, 2023

    Widow continues to wait for action against driver who ran down and killed her husband

    Patrick Furey, 59, of New London was struck and killed by a motorist in New London on Nov. 11, 2020. The case against the woman charged in his death remains pending in New London Superior Court. (Photo courtesy of Kathy Curley).
    Patrick Furey, 59, of New London was struck and killed by a motorist in New London on Nov. 11, 2020. The case against the woman charged in his death remains pending in New London Superior Court. (Photo courtesy of Kathy Curley).

    New London ― Kathy Curley doesn’t expect the woman who struck and killed her husband in 2020 to spend the rest of her life in prison. She doesn’t even expect her to spend five years in prison, the maximum sentence for the offense the woman is charged with.

    “Just something,” Curley said. “What I want is to know that her life has been inconvenienced in some way.”

    In the early evening hours of Nov. 16, 2020, 59-year-old Patrick Furey left his house on Norwood Avenue in New London on a trip to fill his wife’s car with gas and pick up a pizza and salad for dinner.

    Furey never made it home. Instead, two plain clothes police officers showed up at Curley’s door with the news her husband had been run down by a van and killed as he crossed the street. Curley was heartbroken.

    Her grief is mixed with frustration these days as she waits for the driver in the fatal crash, 36-year-old Tiesha Clark of New London, to face “some consequences.”

    Clark was arrested in connection with the crash on Sept. 8, 2021, more than 10 months after the crash. Police have not explained the reason for the length of the investigation, which included use of a 3D laser scanner at the scene six months after the crash. The device helps calculate factors such as estimated speed and stopping distance.

    Police would eventually determine Clark, who did not have a license, was traveling almost 43 miles per hour in an area of Broad Street with a posted speed limit of 25 miles per hour.

    Had Clark been traveling the speed limit, police said she should have been able to “detect, identify, perceive and stop prior to the area (of) impact and this collision would not have occurred.” Clark was charged with misconduct with a motor vehicle, driving with a suspended license, reckless driving and traveling unreasonable fast. She remains free on a $50,000 bond.

    As frustrating as the wait for an arrest was, Curley said the court proceedings have proved to be a test of perseverance on her part. Prosecution in the case has stalled in New London Superior Court where Clark, represented by an attorney in the public defender’s office, has twice been found not competent to stand trial, or unable to understand the proceedings and assist in her own defense.

    When a defendant is found not competent, prosecution is halted while the defendant is treated, typically for some type of mental disorder. In Clark’s case, records show that she was recommended for outpatient treatment in order to be restored to competency. Details of the reasons for the findings are kept from public viewing.

    A representative from the state’s attorney’s office and public defender’s office would not comment for this report.

    Hearings on the case were held in New London Superior Court on Nov. 2, 2022 and March 17, 2023. The next hearing is scheduled for June 6.

    Furey was struck and killed while walking across Broad Street carrying a pizza and a bagged salad. His car was parked opposite Empire Pizza and Furey had just crossed the center line when police said the minivan driven by Clark struck him in the westbound lane.

    There was no evidence that Clark ever slowed down. The impact of the crash was so severe it caused heavy front end damage to the minivan, along with a smashed windshield where Furey’s head hit. Furey was pronounced dead at the scene.

    Clark’s driver’s license was suspended at the time. She was driving her mother’s van, which police said had worn brakes. Clark denied being intoxicated or on drugs or distracted by her phone, which was out of minutes and could not be used without an internet connection. There is no indication in the police report that Clark was tested for drug or alcohol intoxication. Clark told police she was on several medications but had not taken those medications in the past four days prior to the accident.

    “Clark stated she had no idea where the pedestrian came from,” police said. “Clark stated she did not see him until she made contact with him with the vehicle.”

    Curley was married to Furey for nearly 20 years and the couple had known each other since junior high school. Furey was a 1979 graduate of Stonington High School, a trivia whiz with a passion for family, music and rescue animals. Curley said she and her husband had five dogs and Furey was pretty well-known in the neighborhood because of the regular walks he took with all five of them. He was working in the shipping department at Pfizer at the time of his death.

    “He was just a happy go-lucky fun kind of guy,” Curley said.

    Curely said her remaining concern, other than the court case being dragged on without allowing her some closure, is that Clark gets off “scot free.”

    “She mowed down someone without stopping. She was able to go home. Do I think this woman hit my husband on purpose? Of course not. But you are still responsible for your actions,” Curley said.


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