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West Hartford Man Pleads Guilty In Crash That Killed Avon Woman

A West Hartford man pleaded guilty Monday to felony misconduct with a motor vehicle for his role in a Farmington crash that killed an Avon grandmother last fall. He faces up to five years in prison at his November sentencing.

Bennett Dunbar, 27, was initially charged with second-degree manslaughter with a motor vehicle and first-degree reckless endangerment. The charge was reduced after he agreed to plead guilty.

A Farmington police investigation found that Dunbar was speeding when the Volvo station wagon he was driving crossed the center line and struck Janet Pulver’s vehicle, according to prosecutor Vicki Melchiorre and the warrant for Dunbar’s arrest.

The crash occurred shortly after 4 p.m. Oct. 20, 2016, on Farmington Avenue at Farm Glen Boulevard. Pulver, 66, died later at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford.

During a hospital interview with police, Dunbar told detectives that he did not remember the crash. He said he had been at his parents’ home and was on his way to Collinsville. He denied consuming alcohol before the crash, but told the detectives that the ambulance crew gave him fentanyl and other opiates.

Dunbar has a history of abusing opiates, according to the warrant.

Police talked to several witnesses who described Dunbar’s car as speeding and said they saw it cross the center line before the crash. A CT Transit driver told police that Dunbar was driving so fast his Volvo shook her bus as it passed.

Dunbar is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 13 by Judge Julia D. Dewey. Under the terms of the plea agreement negotiated by Melchiorre and defense attorney Hubert J. Santos, Dunbar faces a maximum of five years in prison. Santos will be able to argue for less prison time.

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