WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — A Waterbury man and member of the Connecticut National Guard died in a crash Tuesday, just days before his wedding.
Spc. Josue Alicea-Tirado, 19, of C Co. 1-102nd Infantry, was killed in a two-vehicle crash on Watertown Avenue in Waterbury. He was expected to be married on Friday, Oct. 21.
Waterbury police responded to the crash around 5:20 a.m. Tuesday morning. Both Alicea-Tirado and the other driver were rushed to local hospitals.
“Nineteen-years-old, extreme loss anytime there is a loss of life, it saddens our community,” said Lt. Ryan Bessette, Waterbury Police Department. “This individual was a part of the Waterbury community.”
Investigators said that Alicea-Tirado died from his injuries a short time later. The other driver was treated for non-life-threatening injuries, and their current status is unknown. A parked, unoccupied vehicle was also struck and sustained damage.
Members of the Connecticut National Guard are expressing their deepest condolences following the loss.
In a Tweet, Major General Fran Evon wrote, “I want to send my condolences to the family, friends, and battle buddies of Spc. Josue Alicea-Tirado. The loss of this young man so close to what should have been the happiest day of his life makes this tragedy even harder to digest.”
A memorial has formed off Watertown Avenue as community members are leaving flowers and candles as they honor Alicea-Tirado.
“He was a young man of limitless potential,” said Major Dave Pytlik, CT National Guard. “A lot believe he was doing great things in his unit, in his civilian life. We are all very proud of him.”
Major Pytlik says Alicea-Tirado was 18 when he joined the National Guard and his unit was in Africa.
“His platoon sergeant described him as bright, young, caring, thoughtful people,” Major Pytlik said. “One of the better members of society and what we’d like to see in terms of who joins our ranks.”
In his private life, Alicea-Tirado worked as a mechanic.
“All of us are mourning,” Major Pytlik said. “This is absolutely terrible. We are having a wake for this man when we should have had a wedding.”
During this difficult time, soldiers and airmen are encouraged to use Connecticut National Guard resources, including the behavioral health careline and family program if they need support.
Anyone with information on this collision is asked to call the Waterbury Police Department’s Crash Reconstruction Unit at (203) 346-3975.