When police arrived at the intersection of Prospect and Farmington avenues Saturday night — where two cars had collided, totaling a city-owned vehicle — they noticed that one of the drivers, Rhonda Moniz-Carroll, had “red, glossy eyes,” “thick, slurred speech” and a strong odor of alcohol emanating from her breath, according to an incident report.
Mayor Pedro Segarra fired Moniz-Carroll, the city’s deputy public works director, on Monday. She was charged over the weekend with driving while intoxicated and failure to drive in a proper lane.
A preliminary investigation showed that Moniz-Carroll, 53, veered into oncoming traffic on Prospect Avenue, police said. She collided head-on with another vehicle about 9:30 p.m.
Both the city-issued Ford Escape that Moniz-Carroll was driving and the other car, a 2006 Nissan Altima, were damaged in the crash.
The driver of the Nissan was Caitlin Greenbaum of Hartford, sources said. She was taken to St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center for treatment of an ankle injury and a concussion. Moniz-Carroll, of 54 Cone St., refused medical attention.
Moniz-Carroll told police she was driving south on Prospect Avenue and that the other driver was headed north. Police noticed “a debris of car parts in the north bound lane,” adding: “The focus of the debris was mainly where the impact point was.”
“Based on the area of the impact, I determined Rhonda Moniz-Carroll crossed the double-yellow line and struck [another] vehicle that was traveling north on Prospect,” an officer wrote in a report.
When police approached Moniz-Carroll’s car and questioned her about the accident, they noted she had “droopy eyelids,” “blood shot eyes” and slurred speech. One officer wrote in a report that he detected “an overwhelming odor of alcoholic beverage” on Moniz-Carroll’s breath.
During a field sobriety test, Moniz-Carroll swayed while trying to balance, raised her arms for stability and “would look in the opposite direction of the stimulus in an apparent attempt to sabotage the test,” according to an incident report.
She initially told police she had not consumed alcohol before driving, but later said she drank one glass of wine at 11 a.m. Saturday, the report states.
During interviews with police, Moniz-Carroll said: “Are you serious? You’re going to arrest me! Do you know who I am?” and “Does Chief [William] Long know you are doing your job and arresting me? Do you know who I am?”
At police headquarters, Moniz-Carroll refused a Breathalyzer test and told officers that her husband, Kevin Carroll, was her attorney. As police spoke to her, “she became more upset … stating ‘this is ridiculous. I can’t believe you are doing this. Do you know who I am?’” an incident report states.
Greenbaum told police she did not remember anything before or after the crash. She was “extremely disoriented and was suffering from memory loss due to the force of the impact,” a report states.
Moniz-Carroll is scheduled to be arraigned Friday at Hartford Superior Court.
The accident renewed attention to the assignment and use of city-owned vehicles. Segarra’s former chief of staff, Jared Kupiec, was charged in July with using a city car without permission and interfering with police after he had left the city’s employ. He was later granted a special form of probation.
The Hartford Internal Audit Commission is investigating the assignments and policies for take-home city vehicles, and the city council is considering a proposal that would limit their use.
Fifty-nine employees are currently assigned city vehicles that they can take home.