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Family of deceased motorcyclist closely following driver's case

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Family members and friends of motorcyclist Frank A. Barabas Jr., wearing black Harley Davidson shirts saying "Gone but not forgotten," filled two rows of benches for the appearance Monday in New London Superior Court of the woman accused of striking and killing Barabas while allegedly driving drunk on July 28, 2019.

Kimberly E. Zoller, 37, of East Lyme, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree manslaughter with a motor vehicle, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and making an improper turn. East Lyme police charged her in October 2019 following a lengthy investigation of the crash that occurred in front of the Rustic Cafe on Boston Post Road.

Free on a $25,000 bond, Zoller stood before Judge Hunchu Kwak Monday with her attorney, Jeffrey A. McNamara. Prosecutor Sarah W. Bowman said the state's attorney's office is still waiting to get all of the case information from the police, and the judge continued the case to Feb. 6.

Zoller is likely to appear in court several more times before her case is resolved through a plea deal or trial, and members of the victim's family have made it clear that they will be following the process closely.  

"The family is here and are truly determined to have participation in the outcome," Victim Services Advocate Johanna Krebs said in court.

According to police, Zoller had had been drinking whiskey and playing poker at Mohegan Sun prior to the crash.

Headed west on Boston Post Road in her 2018 Subaru Crosstrek at 4:45 p.m., she made an abrupt left turn toward the parking lot of the Rustic Cafe, where she told police she had been planning to meet a friend.

She said she saw the motorcycle approaching, but thought she had enough time to make the turn. The two vehicles collided, and Barabas, 42, died at the scene.

Toxicology tests of Zoller's blood, drawn 90 minutes later, indicated Zoller's blood alcohol level was 0.101 percent, according to a court document. The legal limit for driving is 0.08 percent.

Barabas's three sons are represented by Kolb & Associates law firm of New Haven in a civil wrongful death lawsuit filed against Zoller in September, according to court records.

k.florin@theday.com

Editor's Note: This version corrects the date of the crash.

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