State police continue to investigate a fatal crash on I-91 in Hartford and say a driver who may have tried to get out and help was also killed.
State police say on Wednesday night a Honda heading south on I-91 near exit 27 in Hartford struck a metal beam guardrail on the left side of the highway and died at the scene. Investigators say another driver stopped on the right shoulder, got out of his vehicle, and tried to run across the interstate to reach the car on the left side. State police say he was struck by another car and pronounced dead at Hartford Hospital.
“This is an extremely tragic, tragic crash. It looks as though, potentially, this pedestrian was trying to help,” said Trooper 1st Class Kelly Grant.
The pedestrian has been identified as 24-year-old Giovanni Melendez of New Britain. State police say the Nissan that hit Melendez also crashed into the Honda and that the driver of the Nissan was uninjured and stayed at the scene.
“We appreciate good Samaritans stopping to help other motorists, but your safety, that’s the priority. That truly is the priority. You can’t help anybody if you’re hit and seriously injured or killed,” said Grant.
State police posted a highway safety reminder on their Facebook pace saying that when you’re on the interstate, you should never stand outside of your vehicle, cross the highway on foot, or be a pedestrian. They say if you see someone in trouble, call 911.
“If you're the one that breaks down or you're the one involved in a crash, if you can, move your vehicle as far to the right as you possibly can, put on your hazard lights, call 911, stay in your vehicle,” said Grant.
Police say the side of the highway and the travel lanes are the most dangerous places you can stop.
“Stay in your vehicle. You have the protection of your vehicle. If you're vehicle gets hit, you may get injured, but you're less likely to get killed as if you were standing outside your vehicle and a vehicle strikes you or your vehicle is hit and strikes you,” said Grant.
The identity of the driver killed has not been released. The investigation is ongoing, and police are asking anyone who may have witnessed what happened or who may have seen the vehicles before the crash to give them a call.