Driver in Fatal Accident Had Elevated Blood Alcohol Level

The New Haven man was driving the wrong way on Route 8 in April when he killed a 24-year-old Beacon Falls man.


Nine months after he killed a 24-year-old Beacon Falls man in a drunken driving accident, Edmundo Mendieta has been arrested by state police.

The incident occurred on Saturday, April 28, on Route 8, when Mendieta, 35, of New Haven, was driving the wrong way on Route 8 South near Exit 27 and collided head-on with a car driven by William J. Baer, Jr., who died the following day from injuries sustained in the accident.

Mendieta had a blood alcohol content nearly three times the legal limit - his BAC was .221, the legal limit is .08 - and admitted to consuming six Coronas the day of the accident and said that he had nothing to eat, according to an arrest warrant affidavit unveiled Wednesday at Waterbury Superior Court.

 Mendieta has been charged with second-degree manslaughter, second-degree assault with a motor vehicle, operating under the influence of drugs/alcohol and driving the wrong way on a highway.

Mendieta sustained non-life-threatening injuries in the accident, while Bear's lone passenger, 22-year-old Sara Chmielewski sustained critical injuries and was reportedly in a coma. Her condition as of Wednesday night could not be verrified by Naugatuck Patch.

Mendieta, who was driving a white 2003 Chevy van, collided with the blue 2008 Honda Accord driven by Baer.

Baer was a popular young man and mechinical engineer who graduated from UConn and Woodland High School in 2005. He was working toward a master's degree in mechanical engineering.

Naugatuck Patch will bring you more on this developing story.

Grumpy Guy January 31, 2013 at 12:32 PM
Why do innocents have to pay for the crimes of a dirty drunk driver? I dont care if he never got caught before, I hope that louse gets put away for a long LONG time.
SILENT WOLF January 31, 2013 at 02:49 PM
God bless William...As for this Mendieta, well he had better see a long jail time ...I.m guessing he had more than 6 beers. NOW ..We are coming up on a super bowl weekend. Don't drink and drive period...It's not worth your life or someone else to lay there in a box...
Don Carten January 31, 2013 at 04:09 PM
My guess is that, being a first time offender, Mendieta will be given a slap on the wrist by Connecticut's liberal court system and even if he does get jail time he will be released early under Connecticut's early release program.
Alice Tomlin February 01, 2013 at 12:44 AM
So sorry that a promising young man lost his life and the young girl was so badly injured because of a drunk driver. I hope they give that guy the maximum. The maximum is not nearly enough for the lives he destroyed by being so irresponsible and lawless.
SILENT WOLF February 01, 2013 at 03:13 AM
Given his reputation I would have sincere doubt that he is a first time offender.


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