Waterford police: Hit-and-run driver was under influence of drugs, alcohol

The Waterford man accused of fleeing in his car Monday afternoon after striking a woman and the stroller carrying her 2-year-old daughter on Greentree Drive was under the influence of both alcohol and drugs, according to a police report.

Two mothers with strollers were walking along the curb line at 4:09 p.m. when a car approached them from behind and struck a child's bicycle that was near the curb, according to the report. The car struck one of the women, and her child was thrown from the stroller.

Both the woman and child were treated for injuries at Lawrence + Memorial Hospital and released. The toddler suffered head trauma, including cuts and bruises, according to the report.

A witness recognized the driver as Shane Bidwell, 27, of 1 Rogers Hill Road in Waterford, who got out of the car and said he was sorry before getting back in and driving away. Police pulled over Bidwell's tan Toyota Corolla about seven miles away on Lamphere Road. His car had a broken passenger-side headlight and sideview mirror.

Bidwell denied drinking or being involved in a crash but smelled of alcohol and failed field sobriety tests, according the report. His blood alcohol level, taken with a portable device, measured 0.077 percent, which is below the legal level for driving. Sgt. Marc Balestracci, who is certified as a drug recognition expert, determined he was under the influence of alcohol and central nervous system depressants.

Bidwell told police he had taken his prescribed Suboxone pill, which is a maintenance drug for opioid addicts, and Klonopin, a sedative used to treat anxiety and seizures.  

He was arraigned Tuesday in New London Superior Court on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, second-degree assault with a motor vehicle, two counts of risk of injury to a minor, four counts of first-degree reckless endangerment and evading responsibility in operation of a motor vehicle.

Judge Daniel J. Klau set his bond at $200,000, to be posted only at court, and ordered that he receive medical and mental health treatment in jail. Bidwell remains incarcerated and is due back in court on July 3.

Bidwell works as a landscaper for the Catholic Diocese of Norwich, according to his court file. He is serving two years' probation after being found guilty of possession of a controlled substance in March 2017, according to state court records. He received a one-year suspended prison term as part of the probation deal.

Police sent an accident reconstruction team to the scene and said Wednesday that the case remains under investigation.

k.florin@theday

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