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A Father Remembers The Son He Lost In 'Collision Course'

Collision Course
Connecticut Public Television
Jose Vega, father of Anthony Jose "Chulo" Vega Cruz, mourns his son during a visit to a cemetery in Bloomfield, Conn.

It’s been six months since a police officer fatally shot Anthony Jose “Chulo” Vega Cruz after a traffic stop in Wethersfield, Conn.

The 18-year-old’s father, Jose Vega, often walks by the site of the shooting on Wethersfield’s Silas Deane Highway. It’s hard not to — he lives just a block and a half away. 

Vega moved his family to this suburb of Hartford nearly a year ago, dreaming of a better life for his son, starting with a neighborhood safer than the one they left behind in the city. 

He remembers his first thought when he saw their modest, immaculate home. “This is a mansion,” Vega recalls in Spanish. “Thank God things have gone well.”

On April 20, Chulo went out to eat with his girlfriend. Not long after, his father heard the cacophony of police sirens.

“I thought something happened, but I didn’t pay that much attention,” Vega says in a new TV documentary, Collision Course. “Then about an hour and a half later, my daughter gave me the news.”

The half-hour film, produced by Connecticut Public in collaboration with Hartford filmmaker Pedro Bermudez, delves into the dynamics leading up to the police shooting and the lives that collided on that April day. Collision Course is now available for streaming on CPTV.org and multiple platforms.

Vanessa de la Torre is executive editor of the New England News Collaborative, a regional hub of nine public media stations producing news and in-depth storytelling throughout New England. Previously, Vanessa was a reporter for Connecticut Public and the public radio collaborative Sharing America, covering issues of race, identity and culture. Before joining the public media world, Vanessa wrote for newspapers such as the Hartford Courant, where her investigative storytelling on Hartford education won regional and national awards. She also was part of the Courant team that was a finalist for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Reporting. Vanessa grew up in El Centro, Calif., a desert town near the U.S.-Mexico border, and is a graduate of Princeton University. She received her master's degree from Stanford University’s Graduate Program in Journalism.
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