The wife of a former truck owner whose truck was involved in a fatal crash on Connecticut’s Avon Mountain nearly three years ago has pleaded no contest to attempted insurance fraud.
Donna Wilcox faced a trial that was to start Monday in Hartford Superior Court. The 42-year-old Wilcox on Friday also pleaded no contest to attempted first-degree larceny and conspiracy to commit first-degree larceny.
She did not want to go through a trial, said her lawyer, William Gerace.
“She did have valid defenses, though she was emotionally unable to sit through the rigors of a trial,” he said.
The state accused Wilcox of seeking to restore liability insurance coverage on the truck within 20 minutes of learning of the July 29, 2005, crash from her husband, David Wilcox. Three motorists and the truck driver were killed when the out-of-control dump truck descended Route 44 and slammed into a line of morning commuters, causing a fiery collision.
Prosecutors say that when calling an insurance agent to secure coverage she failed to disclose that the crash had just occurred.
David Wilcox, 72, still faces the same insurance-related charges and four manslaughter charges.
Killed in the crash were motorists Barbara Bongiovanni, 54, of Torrington; Maureen Edlund, 60, of Canton; Paul A. “Chip” Stotler, 42, of New Hartford; and the truck driver, Abdulraheem Naafi, 41, of Hartford.
Eleven people were injured, five seriously.
Joel T. Faxon, a lawyer who represents Stotler’s widow, Ellen, and Stotler’s estate in a civil lawsuit, said the first criminal plea in the case may be a milestone, but does little for the victim’s family.
“We are pleased that there was finally an admission of criminal conduct here, but it does nothing to bring back Chip Stotler and still leaves Ellen and the girls without any real compensation for their horrendous, unthinkable loss,” he said.
Donna Wilcox is due to be sentenced April 30, Gerace said.
Information from: The Hartford Courant
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