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Savage's defense wants car returned

Updated 2:51 pm, Friday, January 24, 2014
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The attorney for Michael Monahan Savage, the driver in a 2011 accident that claimed the life of his father, asked the state Thursday to return the crashed car to Savage so the defense can issue an independent inspection.

Attorney Robert S. Bello told the judge that the car, a 2009 Maserati Quattroporte, has been with the state for more than two years and that he wants to have an expert look at the vehicle as well. Norwalk Superior Court Judge William Wenzel denied Bello's request and asked that the defense try to work out an agreement with the prosecution so his expert can have access to the vehicle without actually having it back. Wenzel said he would reconsider the request if the two parties cannot reach an agreement.

Savage, 39, of 119 Clearview Lane, New Canaan, was arrested on a charge of misconduct with a motor vehicle last month after a two-year investigation. Savage, who has pleaded not guilty, was not in court Thursday. His next court date is scheduled for Feb. 28.

Savage crashed his car at Ponus Ridge and Lakewind Road at about 10:30 p.m. Dec. 22, 2011, according to police. His father, James Jackson Savage, 74, of Seattle, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Witnesses saw Savage leaving the crash scene on foot, police said. He was found the next morning at Stamford Hospital with a laceration to one of his hands, according to a police report.

The investigation took two years, in part, because police had to communicate with Maserati, an Italian car manufacturer, New Canaan's Sgt. Carol Ogrinc said in December. Quattroporte is a high-speed luxury car.

Bello said the state has sent some of the car's parts overseas. He also said Savage still has a number of Christmas presents inside the car.

According to the report, Savage called 9-1-1 at the night of the accident saying there had been accident with injuries before he fled the scene, but the call went to Stamford first because cellphone reception in the area was poor.

Police said Savage was driving southbound on Ponus Ridge when the car veered in to the northbound lane and onto the lawn of 1801 Ponus Ridge. On the property, the car hit a mailbox and a tree before it came to rest on top of a stonewall. Police said the car was totaled and unrecognizable.

Misconduct with a motor vehicle is a Class D felony. The statute definition reads that "a person is guilty of misconduct with a motor vehicle when, with criminal negligence in the operation of a motor vehicle, he/she causes the death of another person."

noliveira@bcnnew.com, 203-330-6582, @olivnelson