‘So many emotions.’ Family of Westport mom killed in wrong-way crash attends driver’s court appearance

Monica Wilson died July 24, 2022— one day before what should have been her 42nd birthday. State police arrested Wilber Martinez, 36, of Bridgeport, last month.

Marissa Alter

Sep 30, 2023, 12:19 AM

Updated 239 days ago

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The family of a Westport mom killed in a double-fatal wrong-way crash saw the man charged in her death go before a judge for the first time Friday. Monica Wilson died July 24, 2022— one day before what should have been her 42nd birthday. State police arrested Wilber Martinez, 36, of Bridgeport, last month.
“There's just so many emotions. The first one to come up is anger, then everything else follows,” Jerry Harris told News 12 after a brief hearing for Martinez in Bridgeport Superior Court. Harris and other family members showed up wearing shirts with Wilson’s picture and the words “Justice for Monica.”
Wilson was killed on the Route 8 connector in Bridgeport while heading home from a friend’s barbecue. Two of her three sons were in the car with her and were injured.
“My daughter was the best. She lived for her kids, and that's what we're trying to do,” said Harris.
Martinez is charged with two counts of manslaughter with a motor vehicle, six counts of reckless endangerment, two counts of risk of injury to a child, operating a motor vehicle under the influence, reckless driving, speeding over 70 mph, driving without a license and several other motor vehicle charges.
According to Martinez’s arrest warrant, the crash happened around 8:30 p.m. after Martinez used an exit ramp to drive onto the connector in the wrong direction and hit three cars. He was speeding away from a hit-and-run at Park Avenue and South Frontage Road at the time, the warrant said. In an interview with police, Martinez allegedly admitted to drinking alcohol at the beach earlier in the day but said he did not remember how much. Testing determined his blood alcohol level was 0.2, 2 1/2 times the legal limit, according to the warrant.
Police said Martinez’s passenger, Ananias Castillo-Icabalzeta, 47, of Bridgeport, was thrown from the van and died at the scene. Several people also went to the hospital hurt, including Martinez.
“Your honor, it's a complicated case. There's extensive disclosure from the state. We have a lot of investigation to look into,” Martinez’s attorney, Barry Butler, told the court. Butler asked for a new court date of Nov. 17, which the judge granted.
Harris told News 12 that justice for his family is “the most time that they can give him—right up to the last minute.”
But Harris also knows any sentence is a long way off.
“We understand that's going to take time. Being parents, we wish it was the next day, you know? But no,” he explained.
Martinez is out on $500,000 with the condition of no driving unless he’s properly licensed, has insurance and the car is registered.


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