Suspect arraigned in hit-and-run crash that killed Norwalk library employee; bond set at $1M

Norwalk police have made an arrest in the hit-and-run crash that killed a longtime, beloved local library employee.
James O’Byrne, 36, of Wilton, was arraigned Monday afternoon on charges of second-degree manslaughter, second-degree assault, evading and several motor vehicle charges in the death of Dawn Kravarik, 58, of Norwalk. Kravarik’s family was at Stamford Superior Court to see O’Byrne go before a judge.
“Her and her husband were going to be retiring next year, and they were going to start their life together after work and everything,” said Adam Arnold, Kravarik’s oldest son, before the arraignment. “She invested a lot of her time and energy into work and family, and it was her time to enjoy her life, and now she's gone.”
Kravarik’s time at the library spanned 36 years, earning her a reputation as everybody's go-to person. Arnold said his mom was most interested in helping other people over herself.
“There were homeless people that stayed outside by her job, and she used to get them clothes and breakfast in the morning and do a lot for them,” Arnold recalled.
That selflessness is what makes the way she died even more painful for family.
On Oct. 28, she and her husband were on his motorcycle when police said a car driven by O' Byrne slammed into them at the intersection of East Rocks Road and Bayne Street in Norwalk. The couple was just a few minutes from their home.
“He killed a passenger on a motorcycle, severely injured the motorcyclist, and then dragged the motorcycle a number of feet before fleeing,” Stamford State’s Attorney Paul Ferencek told the judge during O’Byrne’s court appearance.
O'Byrne should've never even been driving, according to Ferencek.
“The car was uninsured, unregistered, and his license was suspended,” Ferencek said, adding that he believed the suspension was due to a previous drinking and driving conviction. “I’ve been having our inspector research his prior DMV history. He also has a prior incident in 2018 where he struck a pedestrian. I don’t believe he was arrested, however, but I believe at this point, bond at $1 million is reasonable.”
Joseph Colarusso, who represents O’Byrne, called it "a tragic situation" with “a lot of moving parts.” Colarusso didn’t argue for a lower bond but said he’d do so at a later date. Judge Vikki Cooper set bond at $1 million and said it can only be posted after a court hearing to determine nonfinancial release conditions. O’Byrne’s next court appearance is set for Jan. 11.
His arrest is a small relief to Kravarik's family.
“The person that did this has no care about anybody in the world,” Arnold said. “I'm just happy to know he's no longer out there.”
But the development doesn’t bring Kravarik back or help her loved ones move forward without her.
“She truly loved her family. She had a bunch of grandchildren, children, and they were her world,” Arnold explained. “I'm her oldest son so it'll be my job to step up and take her place. It's going to be hard, especially around the holidays, explaining to our kids everything that's going on. You know, they're very young, so it’s tough. She had four grandchildren that really loved her, and they're going to miss her.”