NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – New Haven police are mourning the death of a veteran officer who was killed in an early morning crash in Las Vegas, Nevada on Friday.
The officer, identified as Joshua Castellano, 35, is a seven-year veteran of the police department and was assigned to the Shooting Task Force at the time of his death.
“Josh had the thing… the thing that’s not teachable,” said New Haven Police Chief Renee Dominguez.
The department said Officer Castellano was the passenger of the car, along with three other New Haven Police Officers, one of whom was driving the car. The driver has been identified as Officer Robert Ferraro. The other two passengers were identified as Officer Matthew Borges and Officer John Truhart.
According to the Las Vegas Nevada Police Department, the crash happened around 4 a.m. local time Friday near the intersection of West Spring Mountain Road and South Decatur Boulevard.
According to a police report from the Las Vegas Nevada Police Department, Ferraro, Castellano, and four other passengers were traveling west on West Spring Mountain Road in a Rolls Royce when the car entered the intersection of the two roads at a high speed and began to lose control. Police said the Rolls Royce then collided with a car that was waiting to enter the road from a private driveway.
Police said the Rolls Royce continued west, colliding with utility poles, landscaping, and a fire hydrant. It overturned onto its roof, ejected Castellano from the vehicle, and uprighted itself before coming to a rest, according to police. Debris from the crash collided with a third vehicle that was parked.
Police said Castellano was transported to University Medical Center’s Trauma Unit but despite all life-saving measures, succumbed to his injuries.
Our news partners at KLAS in Las Vegas confirmed that the coroner identified Castellano’s cause of death as multiple blunt force injuries. The manner of death is accidental, according to the coroner’s office.
The family of Officer Castellano released a letter on Sept. 20, which reads:
“Amid our unimaginable heartbreak and grief over the tragic loss of Joshua, we are comforted by the overwhelming love and expressions of support from Joshua’s police officer family, his friends, and the Yale community. Joshua’s life was a gift, and we are grateful that he could share part of it with his colleagues at the New Haven Police Department and with the countless community members he encountered while proudly serving on the police force. Joshua approached his life and work with unmatched passion and excitement, and his genuine love for people was infectious.”
“We hope that others will honor Joshua’s memory by following his excellent example of selfless service to the community. As we pray for strength during this dark time, we will celebrate Joshua’s remarkable life and the light and joy he brought to our lives and the lives of so many.”
The crash is under criminal investigation by the Las Vegas Nevada Police Department, according to the New Haven Police Department.
According to the New Haven Police Department, Ferraro has been placed on administrative leave. The department will do an investigation of their own. He appeared in court Saturday and is expected back in court Tuesday, Sept. 21. The two other officers in the car at the time of the crash have not been placed on leave.
New Haven Mayor Justin released a statement saying, “My thoughts and condolences are with the family of Officer Castellano as well as his friends and colleagues at the New Haven Police Department. Officer Castellano served our community for seven years. We’re thankful for Officer Castellano’s service; he will be greatly missed.”
An obituary for Castellano stated that his wake will be on Thursday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the West Haven Funeral Home. The funeral will be held on Friday at 10 a.m. at St. Mary’s Church in New Haven.