Police: Darien Man, 30, Smoked Pot, Texted While Driving, Crashed Into Tree

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A 30-year-old Darien man told police he was texting when he hit a tree as he was driving on Hollow Tree Ridge Road, and police smelled marijuana in his car, then found some, police said.

He wasn’t injured in the accident, but the 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt he was driving was disabled, police said.

Darien police described what happened with this account, including accusations not proven in court:

Matthew Byrne was driving about 270 feet south of his home at 290 Hollow Tree Ridge Road and texting on his phone when, he later told police, his foot slipped off the pedal, causing him to leave the roadway and strike a tree.

The accident was reported to police at 6:23 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 2.

After police arrived, they noted the smell of burnt marijuana coming from inside Byrne’s car. They also saw cigar wrappers on the center console. Inside the car they later found 6.97 grams of marijuana in a baggie on the driver’s side floor.

  • During the past week, police said, the Darien Police Patrol Division responded to 10 motor vehicle accidents. Four of the incidents involved minor injuries.

They determined that Byrne was not intoxicated. They also checked Byrne’s driver’s license and found that it was suspended.

He was issued a misdemeanor summons for these charges: possession of narcotics (the marijuana), making an improper turn, driving with a suspended license and using a cell phone while driving.

Byrne was released on a promise to appear Sept. 12 in state Superior Court in Stamford.

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