Police identify driver killed in New Haven restaurant crash

NEW HAVEN, CT (WFSB) – A man was killed when his car crashed into Scarpellino’s Restaurant in New Haven on Tuesday night.

Police identified the driver as Wilmer Lopez, 22, of New Haven.

According to Rick Fontana, New Haven’s director of emergency management, Lopez crashed into a building on Forbes Avenue after he caused crashes in Branford and East Haven.

No one else was injured.

Fontana said Lopez was moving at high speed and was in the air.

He said Lopez was involved in two crashes before the last one in New Haven.

The Branford crash driver then fled the scene in his vehicle.

Lopez then crashed in East Haven, sending a wheelchair through Saltonstall Parkway and Forbes Place. The driver of that vehicle was shot and taken to Yale New Haven Hospital for non-life-threatening injuries.

Lopez also fled the scene and ran through several flower beds and bushes in New Haven before finally crashing into Scarpellino’s.

Surveillance video captures moments before it happens.

Surveillance video shows the moment a driver speeded before a fatal crash in New Haven on June 14.

A neighbor was fast asleep when the collision rocked the neighborhood.

John Kenny of New Haven says: “It only takes a dead person to wake a dead person. “I was close to it, like a lamp. [I] just flew in from Florida, shouting to her ‘what did you drop?’ and she said, “I didn’t drop anything, there’s an accident ahead.”

A gas station attendant said he saw it happen.

“I saw a car speeding, and I just watched him on the sidewalk and fly. Then exploded. He hit a tree and his car overturned,” said Muhammad Shah, a store employee.

Restaurant owner Danny Scarpellino said getting panic calls on Tuesday night is never a good thing, but he says, you need to keep things in perspective.

“My initial reaction was gosh, but then you start thinking about the alternative, we could have been open, maybe 12 o’clock. Then I heard the child died, aged 22, when I got here,” Scarpellino said.

“He hit there, he went here, and then he went sideways a little bit, took the tree in the middle, broke the big rock,” Kenny said.

Kenny, who lives next door, said the collision jolted him out of his sleep.

When he went outside, he saw that many of the trees and bushes he had planted for many years had disappeared.

He said the video gave him chills.

“When it went by, it was like snapping your fingers, it was done, the big cloud of dust and the car went in that direction and kept going in that direction,” Kenny said.

The impact caused enough damage that they had to shut down the restaurant’s gas lines on Tuesday night.

This is the latest setback for Scarpellino, who said they just reopened in January after a fire shut them down in the fall.

“We’ll get through it as if we’d gotten through it all. Something bad is going to happen, by the time you get through it,” Scarellino said.

The hope is that the restaurant will reopen on Friday. If not, definitely next Monday.

Many law enforcement agencies continue to investigate what happened.

Refresh this page and watch Witness News for updates.

Driver dies after crashing into New Haven restaurant

A man was killed when his car crashed into Scarpellino’s Restaurant in New Haven on Tuesday night.

A man was killed when his car crashed into Scarpellino’s Restaurant in New Haven on Tuesday night.

A driver was killed after police said he caused multiple crashes in three different cities.

One dies after car crashes into Scarpellino’s Restaurant in New Haven

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