Police have released more details about a deadly, head-on crash that happened during, or right after, a police chase from Orange to West Haven Thursday night. The state police are investigating.
The fleeing driver collided with a car that had not been involved in the pursuit, West Haven Sgt. David Tammaro said. The driver of the uninvolved car, an “innocent operator,” died, he said.
The state police identified him as Philip W. Hunt, 54, of Seymour.
Because Tammaro’s department is not investigating the crash, he said he didn’t know the details of what led up to it, including whether Orange police still were chasing the car at the time of the fatal collision.
A statement Orange police released to the Courant shortly after 10 p.m. Friday night acknowledges that Orange police were at the scene of the deadly crash. It does not say whether the pursuit had been active, nor does it contain the words “pursuit” or “chase.”
“First and foremost, the thoughts and prayers of the entire Orange Police Department are with the family of Mr. Philip Hunt, who unfortunately succumbed to his injuries as a result of the crash in West Haven,” it says.
State police said the fleeing driver, Robert C. Kryzkij, 45, of East Haven, was trying to elude Orange police in a minivan before the fatal crash in neighboring West Haven. He was seriously injured in the head-on collision on Meloy Road.
The car Hunt was driving was one of three with which Kryzkij collided within a short period of time, according state police. First, there was a crash in Orange — the reason he was pursued — and there was a second, minor collision right before the deadly crash, state police said.
According to Orange police, the series of events started with a rear-end collision at routes 34 and 152 in their town. A light-colored minivan struck another vehicle from behind and fled the scene east on Route 34 without stopping. It wasn’t clear if anyone was injured in that crash.
A short time later, an Orange officer saw a minivan that matched the description of the offending vehicle. It was being operated erratically and had front-end damage, Orange police said.
Orange police said the minivan “initially slowed to a stop (or near stop) for police on Dogwood Road near Route 1, but then continued east on Route 1, and then south on Meloy Road into West Haven, prior to crashing on Meloy Road.”
The state police said Kryzkij, the driver of the minivan — a 2005 Toyota Sienna -- would not stop for the Orange officer and “engaged the officer in a pursuit.”
Shortly before 10 p.m., Kryzkij crossed the city line and drove the Sienna east on Meloy Road in West Haven. As he approached the intersection with Carlson Road, he crossed over the double yellow line and into the westbound lane, sideswiping a 2006 Scion xA. The two people in the Scion, driver Angel Ivan Torres-Villagran, 35, and his passenger, Antonio N. Pineda, 66, both of West Haven, had no obvious injuries, state police said.
The Sienna continued east in the westbound lane and collided with the front of the 2012 Subaru Outback driven by Hunt. Both Hunt and Kryzkij suffered life-threatening injuries and were taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital, state police said.
Hunt was pronounced dead just before midnight, they said.
West Haven police and the Milford State’s Attorney’s Office have asked the state police to investigate the fatal crash. Anyone who witnessed the collision or saw what happened in the moments before it is asked to contact Trooper Gregory Trahan at 860-779-4917 or at Gregory.Trahan@ct.gov.