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Prosecutor says New Haven police officer arrested in Vegas car crash was over the legal limit

Robert Ferraro sitting during the court hearing.
Chitose Suzuki
Las Vegas Review-Journal
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 that killed a fellow officer in Las Vegas.

Forensic testing may prove that a New Haven police officer was under the influence after a September crash in Las Vegas that killed a fellow officer.

Police say Robert Ferraro, 34, refused a field sobriety test after the 4 a.m. wreck that killed Josh Castellano, but they did have Ferraro’s blood drawn about an hour and a half after the accident was called in. A Las Vegas district attorney prosecuting the case says Ferraro had a blood alcohol content level of 0.121. That’s higher than Nevada’s 0.08 blood alcohol limit for noncommercial drivers.

Ferraro’s attorney, Gabriel Grasso, declined to comment

Las Vegas police say that on Sept. 17, Ferraro was driving Castellano and two other fellow officers in a Rolls-Royce when the car 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.

Police said Castellano was ejected from the car, and he died of multiple blunt force trauma, according to Nevada’s Clark County Office of the Coroner/Medical Examiner. A police officer at the scene said Ferraro smelled of an “unknown alcoholic beverage.” Ferraro was arrested and later charged with DUI resulting in death.

Ferraro, who was released from police custody almost a week after the crash, faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

He doesn’t have to be in Nevada, but he must meet several bail conditions, including checking in with court officials by phone every week.

Ferraro is on administrative leave from the New Haven Police Department. New Haven acting Police Chief Renee Dominguez said her department is cooperating with Las Vegas police investigating the incident.

“The New Haven Police Department takes these matters very seriously, and the incident as a whole is under investigation by Internal Affairs,” Dominguez said.

A spokesperson for the department said the other two officers in the Rolls-Royce, Matthew Borges and John Truhart, are not on administrative leave.

Updated: November 3, 2021 at 6:30 PM EDT
This story was updated to include comment from the New Haven Police Department.
Frankie Graziano is the host of The Wheelhouse, focusing on how local and national politics impact the people of Connecticut.

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