UPDATED (8:30 p.m., Sept. 26): A 34-year-old Hamden mother of two was killed when her Cadillac careened onto a Merritt Parkway barrier, before crashing through a guardrail, rolling down an embankment and coming to rest into the shallow waters of the Byram River in Greenwich Wednesday morning.
And as the news spread, the staff and clients of a Greenwich-based agency for the disabled mourned the passing of a colleague.
According to Connecticut State Police, Carrie A. Shelomis, of 1835 State St., Hamden, was driving her 1997 Cadillac Catera southbound on the parkway about 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 26.
The car attempted to negotiate a curve in the road to the left and then struck the cement barrier in the median, according police. The car then went to the right, struck and went over the wooden guardrail on the right, struck a tree with its left side driver's door area and rolled down a steep embankment. The car came to a final rest on its roof.
Shelomis, the driver, was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.
Employees at Abilis, on Glenville Street, just off the King Street exit of the Merritt Parkway, near where the accident occurred, were worried that Shelomis had not contacted them.
Abilis spokeswoman Joy Haenlein said Shelomis would call the agency if traffic prevented her from reporting on time to her human resources assistant position she held for about three months and co-workders worried when they heard there was an accident Wednesday morning.
"Carrie worked for us for about 3 months, but in the time she was with us, she was professional, kind, and always there to pitch in," Haenlein said. "She had two small children. Our hearts go out to her family ... we're all pretty stunned."
Haenlein added, "She was lovely ... she was very professional ... no one ever had a bad word about her... we were so happy to have her on our team ... everybody in the agency is very sad."
Haenlein said, "...we all have the same reaction, we are all very saddened....the reaction was very, very sad. As you know, our place is very lively ... and it wasn't today."
State police are seeking witnesses to the crash. If anyone has any information about the accident, they are asked to call Trooper Rogalski at Troop G (203) 696-2500.
The driver of a passenger car was killed in an early morning crash Wednesday when the car rolled down an embankment of the Merritt Parkway, just before southbound Exit 27, in the area of the old toll plazas, authorities reported.
According to Greenwich Police and emergency dispatches, the driver was the only occupant of the unidentified passenger car which ended up in the Byram River. Greenwich firefighters were dispatched to the heavily wooded scene between Exit 27 (King Street) and Riversville Road, about 7:37 a.m.
At least four engine and rescue units from the Greenwich Fire Department were dispatched to the scene. According to Greenwich Police Sgt. John Slusarz of the Traffic Section, "It was a passenger vehicle with a single occupant with a single fatality."
According to Deputy Fire Chief Keith Millette, fire crews had to extricate the driver from the car. "They had to use some ropes to somewhat rappel about 15 to 20 feet down the embankment with their equipment. They had to remove the driver's door to remove the (female) victim," Millette said. He said the car landed in the river but "wasn't submerged whatsoever."
Slusarz also said motorists should expect delays on the parkway for several hours. One lane is closed and there will be periodic complete road closures as emergency crews and the Connecticut State Police investigate the scene and bring in heavy equipment to remove the vehicle. At 10:20 a.m., Connecticut DOT was reporting traffic backups of more than 3 miles leading to the scene.
Slusarz said fire department personnel installed containment booms on the Byram River to prevent fluids leaking from the vehicle flowing downstream. He also said the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection was at the scene.
A request for information from the state police was left with a department spokesman.