Police identity victims in fatal crash on Route 44 in Coventry - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Police identity victims in fatal crash on Route 44 in Coventry


A Coventry woman and Willington man were killed in a single-car crash on Route 44 in Coventry early Wednesday morning.

A 2000 Honda Civic was traveling eastbound on Route 44 near North River Road around 1:30 a.m. The driver lost control of the motor vehicle, drove off the street and slammed into a utility pole before breaking into several parts.

"I heard the brakes and then I heard the crash," said neighbor Bill Griffin of Ellington. "I was lying in bed reading and then I came down it didn't look good."

Jessica Clark, 25, and Walter Parsell, 20, were the passengers in the Civic.

Clark died at the scene while Parsell was transported to Hartford Hospital where he died a short time later.

The crash was so bad that it scattered pieces of the car along the roadway. Because of the damage to the Civic and other evidence found by police, investigators said they believe that speed played a factor in the crash.

However, the cause of the crash remains under investigation. Police said they are still trying to determine who was driving at the time of the crash.

"We extend our sympathies to the families and friends of the victims of this tragic accident," police said in a statement Wednesday.

Coventry's Town Manager John Elsesser went to the scene as soon as he heard about the crash.

"It's just a reminder for all of us to drive safely and we always appreciate all the responders who helped us out," Elsesser said.

Elsesser said there have been other serious crashes at that location before and that people tend to drive fast on this stretch of road.

"I can remember at least a half dozen accidents here over the years," Elsesser said.

Friends of Parsell gathered along Route 44 to pay their respects. His friends said he loved boating and was friends with Clark.

"He was a nice kid," said friend Dan Johnson. "We all loved him. He was as nice as could be."

Route 44 was closed for several hours as crews from the Connecticut Light & Power crews repaired the damaged utility pole. 

Power was knocked out for customers in that area, however, by Wednesday morning, it was restored.

Coventry police advised drivers to seek an alternate route before Route 44 reopened just before noon.

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