By Connecticut State Police
(June 5, 2023) –– On Sunday, June 4, 2023, Connecticut State Police, working in conjunction with multiple local law enforcement agencies as well as the FBI, launched the final phase of the months-long investigation into street racing and “takeover events” occurring throughout the state.
These illegal racing events have resulted in assaults, shootings, motor vehicle collisions, injuries to pedestrians, as well as property damage – requiring the cooperative efforts of multiple law enforcement agencies and the combining of resources across jurisdictions.
After extensive intelligence-gathering efforts, investigators have begun taking the individuals responsible for organizing and promoting illegal street racing events into custody and seizing vehicles used to facilitate associated criminal activity.
During the course of these operations, at approximately 11:26 p.m., on Route 9, Berlin, a white Honda Civic was observed conducting a drag race with no registration plate and what appeared to be a drag chute attached to the rear of the vehicle. Troopers later observed the Honda Civic being loaded onto a flatbed trailer pulled by a pick-up truck and made a traffic stop. The Honda Civic was found to be stolen out of Danbury and the trailer plate was misused. The operator was transporting the Honda to a secondary location when Troopers initiated a motor vehicle stop.
The operator of the Ford F-350 pickup truck was positively identified as Flor Hiram Santiago (DOB 03/04/1980), of Meriden, who was taken into custody and transported to Troop H where he was processed and charged with the following violations of Connecticut General Statutes:
14-224 (c)(2)(B) Racing
14-222 Reckless Driving
53a-64 Reckless Endangerment 2nd degree
53a-122 Larceny 1st Degree
14-12(a) Failure to Renew Registration
14-147(c) Misuse of plates
14-147a Theft of Plates
14-213b Operating without Insurance
14-215 Operating under Suspension
14-251(c) Improper Parking
Santiago was held on a $500,000 cash/surety bond and is scheduled for arraignment at G.A. 15, New Britain Superior Court, on June 5, 2023. Santiago was also wanted by the East Hartford Police Department for the charge of Larceny 1st Degree. The Ford F-350, the Honda Civic and the towing trailer were all seized as evidence in this investigation.
Additionally, on June 5, 2023, at approximately 1:43 a.m., investigators observed two vehicles on I-84 West in the area of Exit 39 traveling side by side, both vehicles accelerated and continued their travel side by side at reckless speeds in excess of 120 mph, which put the general public at risk. Troopers assigned to Troop H and Troop A were able to initiate a motor vehicle stop on each of these vehicles in Waterbury.
The two vehicle operators were positively identified as Tednnessy William Torrellas Hernandez (DOB 09/10/1985) Waterbury and Hannah Bartolucci (DOB 02/26/2003) Feeding Hills, Massachusetts were subsequently taken into custody and transported to Troop A in Southbury where they were processed and charged with the following violations of Connecticut General Statutes:
14-224 (c)(2)(B) Racing
14-222 Reckless Driving
53a-63 Reckless Endangerment, 1st degree
Torrellas Hernandez faces an additional charge of: 14-96p Improper Use of Color Lights/High Beams Torrellas Hernandez and Bartolucci were each released on $10,000 non-surety bond. Hernandez is scheduled for arraignment at G.A. 14, Hartford Superior Court on 06/14/2023 and Bartolucci on 06/22/2023. Both the Toyota Camry (operated by Bartolucci) and Hyundai Veloster Turbo (operated by Torrellas Hernandez) were seized as evidence in this investigation.
Based upon the tumultuous behavior exhibited by participants during previous incidents, and in the interest of preserving public safety, the Connecticut State Police are providing members of the public with advance notice for their safety. As intelligence information is received, the locations of anticipated street racing events are being shared by both State Police social media accounts and/or accounts managed by local police departments.
In addition, organizers, participants, and spectators alike are being reminded of the potential consequences of involvement in illegal street racing events through the use of billboards throughout the state, bearing the message, “YOU RACE IT, YOU LOSE IT.”
The Connecticut State Police, along with the FBI are continuing their proactive efforts to deter and disrupt these illegal street racing events within the state of Connecticut.
Your State Troopers remind all operators: If you come across a takeover event, please turn around and seek an alternate route to a safe location. Call 911 to report the incident, if it is safe to do so.
Photos courtesy of CSP PIO