Weston man gets 4 1/2 years in prison for killing tow truck driver on the job
A Weston man was sentenced to 4 1/2 years in prison for driving drunk and killing a well-known tow truck driver who was loading a disabled car onto his flatbed on the Merritt Parkway in Trumbull.
Dean Robert pleaded guilty Thursday to manslaughter, operating under the influence, reckless driving and failure to slow down and move over for an emergency responder in connection to the death of Cory Iodice. The emotional hearing in Bridgeport Superior Court then moved on to statements from family and friends of both Corey Iodice and Robert before the judge handed down her sentencing decision.
Robert also spoke, turning to the back of the courtroom and directly addressing the Iodice family. He took full responsibility for what happened on Apr. 22, 2020.
"My actions on the day were reckless, senseless, irresponsible and unacceptable," Robert said to them. "I have no excuses for what I did. None."
Corey Iodice was a third-generation tower, working for his family's company out of Fairfield, Iodice Family Transport. He was in the breakdown lane when Robert slammed into him with his car. Police said Robert was driving 86-93 mph on the parkway and his blood alcohol content was over the legal limit.
Robert sobbed as he spoke to the Iodice family. "Every day I put myself in your shoes. Chris, Robin, Cindy, Keith, Kristin, Patricia—I pray every day for your brother, and I pray for your well-being and your ability to find some measure of peace."
Corey Iodice's loved ones also cried as they talked about their loss and pleaded for justice. Some of them advocated for the maximum sentence of 10 years.
"No amount of time will ever be enough for what happened on that day," said Corey Iodice's sister-in-law, Kristin Iodice, through tears.
Chris Iodice, one of Corey Iodice's brothers, told the court he was angry. "To me nothing about that day was an accident. Mr Robert, you made so many terrible choices that day." Chris Iodice broke down as he said, "I just can't imagine the fear and the pain my brother went through those last few seconds of his life."
Loved ones recalled how Iodice, who was popular in the tow truck community, was known for making safety his top priority. In 1991, Corey Iodice, Chris Iodice, and their father Russ Iodice were each awarded a Civilian Service Medal for their work rescuing a victim involved in a crash on I-95.
Cindy Iodice, one of Corey Iodice's sisters, said this kind of death was the worst possible thing that could happen to their family, given the generations they've spent building the business. But she also thanked Robert for looking at each of her family members as they gave their victim impact statements.
In making her ruling, Judge Tracy Dayton said there were no winners. She acknowledged that while Dean didn't mean to kill anyone, he still chose to drink and get behind the wheel. Dayton issued a 10-year sentence suspended after 4 1/2 years, followed by five years of probation. She also applied the Slow Down Move Over Law for the first time in a Connecticut court, ordering Robert pay a $10,000 dollar fine, the maximum under the law. The money will go to Cindy Iodice's newly formed nonprofit, Flagman, started in memory of her brother to save lives. The mission is to reduce these kinds of crashes and fatalities involving roadside workers and first responders by promoting road safety and educating the public about Slow Down Move Over laws.