Arrest warrant reveals new details in deadly Norwalk hit-and-run crash
The Wilton man charged in a deadly hit-and-run crash in Norwalk allegedly texted a friend several hours after the incident, “I killed someone on a motorcycle accidentally I think.” That’s according to the arrest warrant for James O’Byrne, which offers new details about the crash that killed Dawn Kravarik, 58, and seriously injured her husband. It happened on Oct. 28 just after 6 p.m., less than 1 1/2 miles from the couple’s house.
The two were on Mark Kravarik's motorcycle heading home at the time, both wearing helmets, the warrant said. Mark Kravarik told Norwalk police they were stopped at the stop sign on Bayne Street at East Rocks Road when a car slammed into them from behind but didn’t remember much after that, the warrant said. He went to the hospital for extensive injuries, including severe cuts to his face.
According to the warrant, people living nearby and cameras from their homes led police to determine the car they were looking for was "a dark blue older model Ford Crown Victoria with black rims and a ladder tied to the roof." The description went out to neighboring agencies with Wilton police identifying it as belonging to one of their residents.
The warrant said Norwalk police went to O’Byrne’s home and found the car in the driveway with "fresh pieces of glass/debris on the front bumper/grille area of the vehicle. There was also front-end damage and front passenger side bumper and headlight damage.” The damage was later linked to the motorcycle, according to the warrant.
Police interviewed O'Byrne, who "changed his story multiple times" and initially denied being involved before eventually conceding that “he clipped someone with his car” but didn’t think it was serious, the warrant said. "James stated that if he knew that he hurt someone then he would have stopped," according to the warrant. He allegedly told police that before the crash he was grilling with friends at Cranbury Park, where he had three beers. “James states that he did not consider himself intoxicated because it would normally take him at least 20 beers to be intoxicated," the warrant said.
O’Byrne said he left the park, stopped at a liquor store, and was on his way to a friend’s house when the crash occurred, according to the warrant. O’Byrne admitted that after it, he didn’t stop and continued to his friend’s house where he hung out and drank beer, the warrant said. O’Byrne allegedly left the ladder that had been on his car at the friend’s house. He told police he did so for upcoming gutter work there, “not to hide it so the car wouldn't be recognized," the warrant stated.
As part of the investigation, police seized O’Byrne’s phone. On it, they allegedly found a screenshot of a social media post about the hit-and-run crash and a picture of his car with a “for sale” sign on the front windshield, along with the text about the crash.
The speed limit on Bayne Street is 30 mph. But in the interview with police, O'Byrne said his speedometer doesn't work and that "he has to judge his speed based on what speed everyone else on the road is traveling,” according to the warrant.
The warrant said investigators confirmed that and determined the car “had unsafe tires and an ineffective brake system." O'Byrne was allegedly going over 40 mph at the time of impact after braking. The car pushed the motorcycle almost 160 feet before the two vehicles separated, the warrant said.
It also mentioned O’Byrne was involved in a hit-and-run with a pedestrian over a year ago in Wilton. No other information on it was provided in the warrant. News 12 has requested the report from Wilton police to learn more, but O’Byrne has no pending charges beyond the Norwalk case. The warrant also said his license was suspended indefinitely on Feb. 26.
O’Byrne is charged with second-degree manslaughter, second-degree assault, evading responsibility, reckless driving, driving with a suspended license, driving an unregistered vehicle, and driving without insurance. He is being held on $1 million bond and is due back in court Jan. 11.
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