GRANBY, CT Thinking she was simply part of a Halloween act, visitors to a local haunted house walked right by the woman who lay dying on the darkened roadside outside.
They didn't realize she had been the victim of a hit-and-run driver earlier that night.
One passerby, Gale Fulton, later told police he thought he saw the woman, identified as Kimberley Kitrinos, reaching up from her position prone on the ground. He kept on walking.
|One passerby saw her reaching up from the ground. He kept on walking.|
She was pronounced dead at the scene. No one knows how long the 40-year-old lay unnoticed in the road with severe injuries to her head.
Thousands of people visited "The Nightmare at Floydville Road" on Oct. 24 to get scared and to raise money for local emergency volunteers.
"Other witnesses also indicated they thought that the body on the road was part of the haunted house act," Det. Eric Daigle wrote in a warrant to arrest 54- year-old Bruce Imbt of East Granby.
The accident, police said, occurred between 6 and 7 p.m.
In the days that followed, state police used a car mirror and red paint chips found at the scene and on Kitrinos' coat to track down Imbt, who turned himself in Friday.
Imbt, of Granby, told police he had been at J&G Sports Bar in East Granby, where he had two scotches and some cheese and crackers before he left for home around 6:30 p.m. Imbt told police he didn't see anyone walking in the road.
"Imbt stated that he heard a thud sound from the right side of his car and that he did not see anything but thought that he had hit a pipe that was sticking out from a pickup truck, or it sounded as if someone had thrown a brick at his windshield," the arrest warrant said.
When Imbt arrived home around 6:45 p.m. his wife, Alma Imbt, spotted the damage to his passenger-side mirror, she told police. Noticing her husband was upset, she asked, "What happened Bruce?" according to court documents.
Imbt reportedly told her someone had thrown a brick at his car as he was passing the haunted house. He dismissed his wife's suggestion to call police, the warrant said, saying it was only a Halloween prank.
Bruce Imbt then examined his car and found that its mirror had snapped out and the windshield was cracked. He moved it into the garage, the warrant said.
The next morning, when Imbt read a newspaper article about the accident, "he got a sick feeling but was still not positive that he was involved in the accident," court papers say.
|The next Tuesday, neighbor Bruce Imbt took the day off to get his car repaired. He drove it to Albany.|
That following Tuesday, Imbt took the day off from work to get his car repaired. Alma Imbt recalled she suggested he go to a local garage he'd used before, but he chose to drive to Albany instead.
Police, meanwhile used the mirror and paint chips to help them hunt for the driver, who had stayed quiet in spite of pleas from Kitrinos' family to come forward.
Investigators took the mirror to automotive parts dealers and narrowed down the make and model to either a Buick or an Oldsmobile made between 1991 and 1997. The state Department of Motor Vehicles helped provide a list of those cars that were painted red and registered in Granby, East Granby, Simsbury and Bloomfield.
There were 250 cars on the list. State police Det. Ed Kushner and 19 other detectives divided up the addresses and began a door-to-door search Thursday night. Kushner's first stop was 24 Fawn Drive, East Granby, the Imbts' home.
Imbt turned himself in the next day. He is to be arraigned on charges of evading responsibility and tampering with evidence in Superior Court in Enfield today. He could face more charges, Hartford State's Attorney James Thomas said.
On the first anniversary of the accident, many people assumed the final night of the event would be canceled, and others wondered about the future of the annual event. But, as the primary fund-raiser for the fire department, "The Nightmare at Floydville Road" went on as planned, marking the event's 11th year.
Taking steps to avoid a similar tragedy, police and fire officials surrounded the area around the haunted house with bright lights, and a parking ban on Floydville Road was strictly enforced.
About 21/2 years later, in May 2000, Bruce Imbt pleaded guilty to evading responsibility. In August, Imbt was sentenced to five years, suspended after two years, and probation for five years.
from the Hartford Courant