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    Saturday, September 30, 2023

    Woman charged in New London pedestrian death ruled not competent

    The New London driver who struck and killed a pedestrian on Broad Street in 2020 will not be criminally prosecuted for any crimes.

    New London Superior Court Judge Patrick Caruso, at the conclusion of a competency hearing on Tuesday, ruled that Tiesha Clark, 36, is unable to assist in her own defense and therefore not competent to stand trial.

    Clark was the driver in the Nov. 16, 2020 crash that killed 59-year-old Patrick Furey of New London, who was crossing Broad Street carrying a pizza and salad from Empire Pizza when he was hit.

    Caruso’s ruling was based on evidence presented by Dr. Dawn Recinos, director of clinical services for the state Department of Developmental Services, who testified that Clark has an intellectual disability that impacts her “concentration, attention and retention of information.”

    Clark additionally has an anxiety disorder, Recinos said. Clark was not “restorable,” or able to be treated and brought to competency, according to an evaluation performed by DDS, Recinos testified.

    Since Clark cannot be prosecuted, the court has ordered that the state Department of Developmental Services evaluate Clark for a possible civil commitment, a determination that would put her in the jurisdiction of the state probate court system. Clark will be evaluated by the court every six months.

    Despite her limitations, Clark lives with and serves as guardian to a brother with intellectual disabilities, according to courtroom testimony.

    Tuesday’s ruling was another blow to Furey’s wife Kathy Curley, who has been following the case and seeking some sort of justice. Curley said she was “horrified and angry” by the ruling and devastated by the fact Clark “doesn’t even have to pay a fine.”

    New London police had charged Clark with misconduct with a motor vehicle, reckless driving, speeding and driving with a suspended license. If prosecuted and found guilty, Clark could have faced up to five years in prison for the crime of misconduct with a motor vehicle. Police determined she was driving an estimated 43 miles per hour in an area where the speed limit was 25 miles per hour.

    At the time of the crash, Clark had another pending case stemming from an Oct. 19, 2020 arrest on charges of disorderly conduct and third-degree criminal mischief. Details of that alleged crime were not discussed in court.

    Defense attorney Kelly Goulet during Tuesday’s hearing called called Furey’s death an “absolute tragedy,” and a “terrible accident,” reminding the court that Clark had not fled the scene of the crash.

    Curley remains skeptical of the court’s ruling.

    “Certainly I think it’s unusual to say the least that you can kill someone and just nothing happens,” Curley said.


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