New Canaan teen pleads not guilty in death of Newtown man
A New Canaan teenager charged with negligent homicide in the death of a 46-year-old Newtown man after she allegedly lost control of her vehicle and slammed head-on into his pickup truck on the Merritt Parkway in April has pleaded not guilty.
Alexandra Orteig, 19, appeared in state Superior Court Friday after she was arrested on the negligent homicide with a motor vehicle charge on Feb. 7.
Orteig is accused of causing the death of Scott Getzinger, who worked behind the scenes obtaining props for numerous Hollywood blockbuster films.
Orteig's attorney, Matthew Maddox, also entered not guilty pleas on his client's behalf on lesser motor vehicle charges. Orteig did not say a word during her brief appearance before Judge Bruce Hudock. She is expected to return to court next month.
Maddox said that he did not want to discuss the case out of respect for the Getzinger family.
"I think these cases are extremely difficult under any circumstances," Maddox said. "With Mr. Getzinger's family suffering as it has and continues to suffer, I think the best place for me to talk about this is in court."
Getzinger worked as a property master and was credited in more than 25 films, including "Spider-Man," "Independence Day," "The Truman Show," "Men in Black III" and "The Dark Knight Rises."
Getzinger, who was conscious and alert after Orteig's tan Lexus slammed into his Ford F-150 pickup truck, died following the crash at Stamford Hospital. State police initially characterized his injuries as non-life threatening.
The accident occurred just before 7:02 p.m. on April 6, after Orteig lost control of her car travelling south about a mile before High Ridge Road.
According to her four-page arrest warrant, a witness told police that he was travelling northbound directly behind Getzinger when he saw a tan car on the southbound side of the parkway suddenly start swerving all over the road. A woman a little behind Getzinger said she heard a loud noise and saw a tan Lexus strike the guardrail and go airborne. The Lexus struck Getzinger's pickup on the driver's side, the woman told investigators.
The woman said she got out and talked to Getzinger, who asked for help getting out of the truck.
Orteig told state police investigators that she was in the right southbound lane and turned her head to look over her shoulder in order to move into the left lane when the car went off the pavement and onto the grassy shoulder.
Orteig's passenger yelled at her and she jerked the wheel to the left and ended up over-steering, crashing into the median, her car flipping as she flew over the guardrail.
Orteig, who ended up in the car's trunk, and her 17-year-old female passenger were taken to Stamford Hospital to be treated for their injuries.
When state police talked to the passenger, she corroborated Orteig's account. Orteig's car was inspected and no evidence of a mechanical failure was found, the affidavit said.
A toxicology screen performed by the Connecticut Division of Scientific Services laboratory on Orteig's blood and urine came back inconclusive and "no results were able to be determined." Urine results tested positive for the active chemical in marijuana, THC. However, specific concentration levels could not be determined at the time of the accident, the affidavit said.