An overnight crash claimed the life of young Meriden man after a crash on the Berlin Turnpike.
“It was like, ‘errr..poof.’ It literally sounded like it exploded,” Kerri Saladin said about the crash that woke her and her husband early Sunday morning.
Eyewitness News spoke exclusively with his family. The family has identified him as Anthony Gonzalez, who is a former high school wrestler.
Gonzalez was rushed to Midstate Medical Center and was pronounced dead short time after arriving.
“It still feels like a dream. it still doesn't feel real yet,” Marlene Gravener, Gonzalez’ girlfriend
Gravener spoke with him over the phone not long before the crash.
“He called and he told me that he would be home in 20 minutes,” she said.
The car’s driver, a 29-year-old woman, was taken by ambulance to Hartford Hospital. Police said she had surgery and was in guarded condition.
Gravener said she left her Wallingford home and headed toward Meriden where he lives.
“I left his house and I went on the pike,” Gravener said. “And I saw the road was blocked, but I didn't know it was him.”
She would get a text from his family. They had been with him at the hospital and were told that he didn’t make it.
“He was such a big personality, a big person,” Erica Rivera, who is Gonzalez’s cousin, said.
Gravener said Gonzalez loved Jurassic Park and his dinosaurs
“He was a firecracker. He was full of life. He was a clown,” said Crystal Munoz, who is Gonzalez’s sister. “He was an amazing big brother.”
His cousin, girlfriend and two sisters left candles at the center median, a small symbol of their love and newfound grief.
The crash is still under investigation. Berlin police are asking anyone who may have witnessed the crash to contact them at 860-828-7080.
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