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Off-Duty Wreck Kills One New Haven Officer, Jails Another

Robert Ferraro sitting during the court hearing.
Chitose Suzuki/Las Vegas Review-Journal
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00013467A
New Haven police officer Robert Ferraro attends his court hearing, Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021, at the Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas. Ferraro was accused of driving under the influence after an early morning crash killed a fellow officer in Las Vegas on Friday. (Chitose Suzuki / Las Vegas Review-Journal)@chitosephoto

An internal investigation is underway into a fatal accident involving four New Haven Police officers last Friday in Las Vegas.

Officer Joshua Castellano, 35, was a passenger in a Rolls Royce police say was driven by fellow officer Robert Ferraro. Castellano died in the crash.

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department reports that Ferraro appeared to have been “impaired.”

New Haven Police say Ferraro, 34, was placed on administrative leave.

“An internal investigation has been started,” said New Haven public information officer Scott Shumway. “As this is an on-going investigation, we can not comment further.”

The Clark County Detention Center said that Ferraro was charged with DUI resulting in death and reckless driving. Ferraro posted bond, but he remains in police custody.

The crash reportedly happened at 3:58 a.m. Friday. The Las Vegas Police Department said the Rolls Royce lost control as it headed westbound on West Spring Mountain Road at a “high rate of speed.” It hit one car and kept going into roadside utility poles, landscaping, and a fire hydrant. A parked car was also damaged in the wreck.

Castellano was hurt in the crash. Clark County officials say that he died of multiple blunt force trauma.

Joseph Giacalone, a retired New York police sergeant who teaches at New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice, thinks Ferraro’s got more to worry about than an internal investigation.

“He’s facing some serious charges and possibly some civil litigation on top of all that so I think the last thing that he should be worried about is losing his job,” Giacalone said.Two more officers were in the car, Matthew Borges and John Truhart. Unlike Ferraro, Borges and Truhart haven’t officially been placed on leave, according to the New Haven Police

Department. In addition to the four police officers, two other passengers were in the Rolls Royce. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department identified them as Frida Navaro and Elizabeth Alvarez. Both women, who are from San Antonio, Texas, suffered minor injuries.

The officers were off-duty, but Giacalone said rules for police are written in a way that officers can spring into action if necessary.

“Officers when they’re having a good time off-duty, they have to be bound by the same rules as everyone else and they have to keep that in mind when they’re having fun.”

Castellano’s body is back in Connecticut. According to an obituary, there will be a Mass in his honor Friday in New Haven at St. Mary’s Church. He’ll later be buried at Grove Street Cemetery.

Donations are being collected on behalf of Castellano’s mother in her son’s memory.

“During his short but impactful career, Josh was part of the Westville and Hill Districts, as well as part of the Narcotics Enforcement Unit and his latest role in the Shooting Task Force,” reads a message featured on the online fundraiser. “Besides being an incredible officer, Josh was an even better son, who leaves behind his wonderful mother, Denise, as well as countless friends.”

Connecticut Public Radio was unable to reach New Haven’s police union for comment.

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