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Report shows woman killed in Mystic crash was hit by man distracted by phone

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Mystic — A just-released preliminary report shows a Hartford Health Care employee was killed on Coogan Boulevard in April when a Mystic man using his cellphone crossed the double yellow line and crashed into her car.

The April 22 crash claimed the life of Michelle L. McMullen, 52, of Norwich, a medical assistant who had left the nearby Hartford Healthcare building when her car was struck at 12:29 p.m. by a Jeep Grand Cherokee driven by Ryan J. Brown, 19, of 180 Breezy Knoll Road. 

According to the preliminary report, Brown was driving east on Coogan Boulevard when he crossed over the double yellow line near the intersection of Jerry Browne Road and struck the westbound Chevrolet Cruze driven by McMullen. She was later pronounced dead at Lawrence + Memorial Hospital.

"Brown was distracted using his (cellphone) which he told this officer and Officer Discordia on the scene," veteran Officer Edward Cullen wrote in the preliminary report.

Cullen added McMullen was on her side of the road but was struck by Brown's SUV as it crossed into her lane.

"Brown, driving vehicle 1, is solely at fault," he wrote.

The report states that Brown was distracted by manual use of a communication device, such as texting, and was driving in an "inattentive, careless, negligent or erratic manner." Blood test also were taken to determine if Brown, who was taken to the hospital with suspected minor injuries, was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the crash.

The regional accident reconstruction team is completing its investigation. Once that occurs, and depending on its findings, police will decide on whether to apply for a warrant to charge Brown in connection with the crash. The preliminary report states that charges are pending.

McMullen's obituary said the Wethersfield native left behind her companion, a son, two grandchildren, parents and a sister.

j.wojtas@theday.com

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