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Tolland State's Attorney


Ellington Man Pleads Guilty to Charges in Deadly 2020 Crash in Vernon


(Vernon, CT) – Matthew C. Gedansky, Tolland State’s Attorney, announced today that Mark A. Desmarais, age 47, of Ellington, entered a plea of guilty in Rockville Superior Court to a charge of Manslaughter in the Second Degree with a Motor Vehicle for an incident that occurred on Talcottville Road in Vernon on 11/27/20.

Desmarais was operating a motor vehicle that crashed into a motorcycle being operated by Willie Cooper, age 61, of Vernon. Cooper suffered life-threatening injuries as a result of the crash. Vernon Police officers engaged in life-saving measures at the scene of the crash and transported Cooper to Rockville General Hospital where he later succumbed to his injuries.

After an extremely thorough investigation by the Vernon Police Department, investigators were able to determine that Desmarais was drinking alcohol at three different establishments prior to driving the vehicle. Blood samples obtained from Desmarais shortly after the incident showed that he was more than twice the legal limit with blood alcohol levels of .197 and .187. The legal limit to operate a motor vehicle in Connecticut is .08 blood alcohol level.

Desmarais entered his plea as part of a plea agreement with the State of Connecticut that includes a period of incarceration of between five and eight years among other penalties. Desmarais will be sentenced by Superior Court Judge Kathleen McNamara on 01/14/22. Desmarais is represented by Attorney AnneMarie Alexander of Somers. The case is being prosecuted by State’s Attorney Gedansky.