The investigation into a fatal collision on Route 8 southbound that has likely will go on for several weeks before the Connecticut State Police announce a conclusion, a state police spokesman said.
An accident investigation team continues to look into why a 35-year-old New Haven man, Edmundo Mendieta, drove the wrong way on the state highway before crashing head-on with 24-year-old William Baer Jr. around 10 p.m. on Saturday, state police said.
Baer, a Beacon Falls resident, .
A lone passenger in Baer's car, 22-year-old Stratford resident Sara Chmielewski, is still listed in critical condition at Saint Mary’s Hospital, hospital spokesperson Jennifer Clement said Tuesday at 10:23 a.m.
"It was a serious accident, and there are a lot of factors that need to be examined," said Lt. J. Paul Vance, spokesman for the state police.
Mendieta was driving a white 2003 Chevrolet G2500 van when he crashed into Baer's blue 2008 Honda Accord Coup. He is also still at Saint Mary's Hospital although his condition is listed as stable and good, Clement said.
Mendieta has not been charged in connection with the crash as of Monday.
Vance declined to comment on specifics of the accident, although he said the pontential contributing factors -- including alcohol, speeding or drugs -- will be looked into during the course of the police probe.
Because of that, Vance said it could be several weeks before any conclusion is reached.
"Was there speed involved, was there alcohol involved…. That's part of the investigation we'll hopefully be able to answer," he said.
Anyone with information related to the accident should contact the Troop I state police barracks in Bethany at 203.393.4200.
Some Naugatuck Patch readers have commented both , and on our Facebook page, claiming they witnessed the accident and have since reported their accounts to the police. Here are a few of them:
" saw him get onto the off ramp and called 911 because we honked our horn and tried to warn him or make him aware of his surroundings. And even if the driver was an out-of-towner and got confused, the first car he saw was (I think) a jeep getting off the exit and I figured he'd stop once he saw that. But the van never touched his breaks, he went around the jeep and kept going!!!" -
" following me all over the road on new haven road. I pulled over because he came right up to the back of my car. I was afraid. Tried to get his plate number but he was all over the road." -
"I saw the across from Nardelli's. He pulled out behind me and was acting weird. He was heading toward Rubber Ave a little after 9:30 p.m. He was tailgating me, then he eased up and was driving very slow. I got up to Friendly's and was nervous that he was still behind me. He turned left toward 63 New Haven Road. I wish I had his plate and called the police. My prayers to the families of these young victims." -
Ronald DeRosa is editor of Naugatuck Patch.