WALLINGFORD — A Meriden driver charged with manslaughter in the death of a bicyclist last month told police and witnesses he used heroin before the crash, according to a search warrant.
The bicyclist, Donald A. Carrelli, 37, of Milford, was pronounced dead at Yale-New Haven Hospital after being struck on South Turnpike Road on May 25.
Derek Fries, 35, of 40 Pasco St., Meriden was charged with second-degree manslaughter with a motor vehicle, DUI, possession of heroin and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Police said Fries was driving a 2009 Honda Civic south on South Turnpike Road on May 25 just before 3 p.m. when the vehicle crossed the double yellow center line, traveled across the northbound travel lane and struck one of two bicyclists riding along the shoulder, police said.
At the accident scene, Fries told police “that he was high and had used heroin prior to the crash,” the search warrant said. Police seized items from Fries, including two bottles of methadone, six capped syringes, two uncapped syringes, and items containing a powdery residue.
According to police, several witnesses at the scene “not only provided first aid, but also information about the offending vehicle’s actions prior to striking the bicyclist.”
Carrelli’s family issued a statement this week. The Milford resident was an Iraq war veteran and Unilever employee.
“Donald was loved deeply by his family and so many people around the world through his time in the military, his travels and his job in supply chain at Unilever,” the statement read. “He was a veteran having served with the Marines in Iraq and since volunteered for veterans' causes. To be killed so tragically and senselessly Memorial Day weekend — the pain we feel is unbearable. We are devastated that the world has lost such a wonderful person.”
At the police station, Fries refused to submit to standard DUI processing procedures, the search warrant said. Police brought Fries to MidState Medical Center to have his blood drawn involuntarily. Officers submitted a search warrant application for the results of the blood test. The results were not in the court file.
Fries was released on $25,000 bond. He was scheduled to appear in Meriden Superior Court last week, but a note in the file indicates he is hospitalized and requested a continuance. He is scheduled to appear in court again on Friday.