Driver in deadly Connecticut crash was college student from Mass.

Local News

Four died in the accident, including Alexander Dennis of Wayland and three people in an oncoming minivan.

A 21-year-old college student from Wayland was driving in the wrong direction when he struck an oncoming vehicle Thursday, causing a fiery crash in Stratford, Conn. that left four dead, according to the Connecticut State Police.

Alexander Dennis had recently finished his junior year at Fairfield University. While on his way home for the summer, he crashed into the oncoming vehicle at 1:43 a.m. on the Merritt Parkway, fewer than 20 miles from the school, according to the Connecticut State Police and a statement by the university president.

Dennis was driving a Honda CRV north in the southbound lanes (the wrong direction) when he crashed into a Chrysler Town & Country minivan, according to a police report. The Honda caught fire, and Dennis and the three people in the minivan died at the scene.

The crash closed Route 15 in Stratford for seven hours, according to the police report.

President Mark R. Nemec said Friday in a statement posted on social media that Dennis was a visual and performing arts major with a special interest in film.

“At a time of year when we are actively engaged in the celebration of our students and their accomplishments, a loss like this seems inconceivable,” Nemec said in a statement. “Those who knew and loved Alex will be especially impacted by his passing, and his loss will be felt across campus.”

Fairfield University will gather as a community to celebrate Dennis’s life when students return to campus in the fall.

Steven Rowland, 65, who was driving the minivan, was an architect and father of three from Easton, Conn., according to his obituary. At the time of the crash, he was driving his aunt and uncle home from Yale New Haven Hospital.

“While his death was abrupt and heartbreaking, his loved ones take solace in knowing that Steve died while doing what he loved best: helping others,” his obituary said.

Lucian Vitale, 80 and Olga Vitale, 81, of Easton, were married for 58 years and dedicated parishioners of Notre Dame of Easton Church, according to their obituary. The Vitales leave behind four children, eight grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

“The values they taught and the unconditional love they gave will forever live on in the hearts of all who knew and loved them,” their obituary said.

— Beth Treffeisen

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