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Police Investigate High-SpeedFatal Crash On South Main Street



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Police Investigate High-Speed

Fatal Crash On South Main Street

By Andrew Gorosko

Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding a fatal high-speed accident on South Main Street early on the morning of Saturday, March 31, in which a 29-year-old man died after he drove off the wet road and struck two trees.

Police said their investigation involves whether the accident may have involved racing, road rage, or other circumstances.

Police said motorist John Giogios, 29, of 365 Exeter Street, Bridgeport, was driving a white 1989 Ford Mustang northbound on South Main Street, just south of its northerly intersection with Pecks Lane, about 2:45 am at a very high rate of speed, when he failed to negotiate a slight curve on the wet road and went off the southbound road shoulder, striking two trees, near 138 South Main Street. As the automobile disintegrated from the impact of the crash, Giogios was thrown from the vehicle and apparently died instantly, police said. The bulk of the destroyed auto continued onward, coming to rest in the northbound lane of South Main Street. Botsford firefighters went to the accident scene.

The Newtown Volunteer Ambulance Corps transported Giogios to Danbury Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival, police said.

A spokeswoman for the chief state medical examiner’s office in Farmington said Monday an autopsy performed on Giogios indicated that he died accidentally, as a result of blunt trauma head injuries.

The police investigation into the accident closed down a section of South Main Street until mid-afternoon Saturday. Traffic was detoured onto Pecks Lane.

Police still have many questions about the circumstances of the accident, Detective Sergeant Henry Stormer said Monday.

Witness Charged

Following the accident, police charged a witness to the crash with interfering with police. Sgt Stormer said police charged John T. Pirretti, 23, of 13 Falls Road, Brookfield, in the matter. Pirretti, who police released from custody at 7:07 am Saturday, is scheduled to appear April 12 in Danbury Superior Court to answer the charge.

Sgt Stormer said Pirretti was driving a black Volkswagen Corrado at a very high speed northbound at some uncertain distance behind the Ford, when the Ford crashed. Both vehicles “were traveling at extremely excessive speeds,” the sergeant said.

The Volkswagen was damaged when it struck portions of the disintegrated Ford, which were strewn across South Main Street, Sgt Stormer said.

Police took a statement about the accident from Pirretti which later proved to be untrue, resulting in the charge of interfering with police, the sergeant said. Sgt Stormer declined to comment on the specifics of that statement.

Sgt Stormer declined to confirm whether the Ford and Volkswagen were racing on South Main Street. Police transported Pirretti to the police station after the accident for processing, the sergeant said.

 “This investigation could take months,” the sergeant said. It is unclear if any additional charges will be filed, he said. There were no passengers in either auto, police said.

Police are investigating several scenarios in the case, Sgt Stormer said. These include whether the incident was simply an accident, in which Giogios lost control of the Ford; whether the Ford and the Volkswagen were racing; or whether it was a case of road rage, in which the two autos were speeding up the road after some incident had occurred between the drivers, he said. Police are investigating whether Giogios and Pirretti knew each other, the sergeant said.

Pirretti declined to comment on the auto accident Wednesday, referring questions on the matter to his attorney James Diamond of Ridgefield.

Attorney Responds

Mr Diamond said Wednesday, “It’s always sad when somebody is killed in a car accident. Mr Pirretti is not at fault and he should not have been arrested. The police are making a mistake if they are looking to blame Mr Pirretti for this sad fatality. It’s irresponsible to speculate about what might or might not be the case. I think it’s wrong to blame Mr Pirretti in any way for this accident.”

Mr Diamond declined to comment about the speed at which Pirretti’s Volkswagen was traveling when it struck the debris of the disintegrated Ford. 

Officers Robert Koetsch and Robert Haas, who are the police department’s accident reconstruction specialists, are working to reconstruct the dynamics of the accident, Sgt Stormer said. “The speed was extremely excessive,” the sergeant said. Both autos were equipped to drive fast, he said.

“The [Ford] ripped apart on impact… Pirretti’s [Volkswagen] sustained minor damage from striking

the [Ford’s] debris,” he said.

Police are awaiting the results of toxicology tests on Giogios to learn if alcohol or drugs were factors in the accident, Sgt Stormer said. There was no indication that Pirretti had been drinking, the sergeant said. 

Monroe Police Department spokesman Officer Dan Brennan said Monday two Monroe police officers in separate patrol cars saw two similar vehicles driving northbound on Route 25 through Monroe at about 2:30 am March 31 at high speeds. The officers spotted the cars on Route 25 near its intersection with Route 59, he said. Route 25 becomes known as South Main Street when it enters Newtown.

One of the two Monroe police officers was headed southbound on Route 25, and the other was stationed in a parking lot near Route 25 when they saw the speeding cars go by, Officer Brennan said. By the time the police were ready to pursue the two speeding vehicles, the vehicles had disappeared from sight, so police did not pursue the autos, Officer Brennan said.

“We were not involved in any pursuit,” he said.

Monroe police did not inform Newtown police of the speeding autos because Monroe police did not know where the vehicles had gone after they disappeared from sight, Officer Brennan said.

Monroe police later went to the Newtown accident scene to confirm that the autos involved in the accident apparently were the ones that they had seen speeding in Monroe, Officer Brennan said.

Acting Newtown Police Chief Michael Kehoe said Tuesday, “We have a lot of theories [about the cause of the accident]… We’ve got to start eliminating these theories and get down to what happened.”

“We’re looking into all aspects of the investigation,” Acting Chief Kehoe said.

Police received three Emergency 911 calls about the accident, he said. The first call came in from a stationary telephone in a residence near the accident scene just after 2:45 am, he said. Just after that, police received two calls on the crash from callers with cellular telephones, he said. Other calls about the crash came in on the police department’s routine telephone number, he said.

Police have the Ford and Volkswagen in secure locations where the autos can be studied as evidence, Acting Chief Kehoe said.

“We’re at the beginning stages of the investigation,” he said, adding that police will proceed with the case based on where the evidence leads them.

Acting Chief Kehoe declined to say whether police tested Pirretti for alcohol use.

“The Monroe Police Department assisted us in this accident investigation,” he said. Acting Chief Kehoe, however, declined to say whether Monroe police had warned Newtown police of the speeding vehicles.

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