PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The Rhode Island State Police said they responded to three separate fatal crashes within 20 minutes of each other early Sunday morning.
The first happened on I-95 North near the area of Branch Ave in Providence around 1:30 a.m. When troopers arrived on the scene, they found a vehicle that went of the road and struck a tree.
The driver was ejected and pronounced dead at the scene. He is identified as Joseph Abreau, 22, of Providence. He was the only person in the vehicle.
Investigators believe speed was a contributing factor in that crash.
Just under 15 minutes later, troopers were called to a rollover crash on I-95 North near exit 30 in Pawtucket.
When crews arrived, they were told an off-duty nurse stopped to help a passenger in the rolled over vehicle, when she was struck by a red colored vehicle that took off from the scene.
The woman was pronounced deceased at the scene. She is identified as Jennifer Toscano, 34, from Stoughton, Mass.
Shortly after that accident, troopers were able to find the vehicle that allegedly struck Toscano. The driver, Luis Baez, 22, Jamaica Plain, Mass., was arrested and charged with the following:
- Driving under the influence of liquor and or drugs, resulting in death
- Driving so as to endanger, resulting in death
- Leaving the scene of an accident, resulting in death
- Operating on a suspended license, first offense
Baez is expected to be arraigned on those charges on Monday.
Then, at about 1:50 a.m., troopers responded to a single car crash on I-95 North near exit 3 in Richmond. Investigators believe the driver went off the road, struck several light poles, then struck a tree.
The car then became engulfed in flames. Several people stopped and were able to remove the man from the burning vehicle.
The driver, identified as Brian Joseph Scacciaferro, 25, of Niantic, Conn., was taken to Kent County Hospital, and was later pronounced deceased. Investigators believe speed and alcohol were factors in the crash.
“This was a terrible morning on our highways and one I hope to never see again,” said Colonel James Manni, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police and Director of the Rhode Island Department of Public Safety.
“Alcohol, excessive speed and reckless driving appear to be factors in these incidents and as a result, three families have lost loved ones. Last night’s tragic death of a Good Samaritan – truly the first responder at the scene of a crash – is a horrifying reminder that we have a shared responsibility to make our roads safe.”
“We have increased patrols and we respond to every call, but bad behavior continues to make our highways incredibly dangerous and these deaths were all preventable. We need motorists to slow down, buckle up, and not drive impaired. If you see someone driving dangerously, we encourage you to call 911 and help us to make our roadways safer.”
All of the accidents remain under investigation and anyone with information is asked to call the Rhode Island State Police.