Las Vegas, NV – New Haven Police Department (NHPD) Officer Joshua Castellano died in a car crash on Sept. 17 while on vacation in Las Vegas.
The 35-year-old officer traveled to Las Vegas with three fellow NHPD officers, including his close friend, 34-year-old NHPD Officer Robert Ferraro, the Hartford Courant reported.
Officer Ferraro rented a luxury 2020 Rolls-Royce Cullinan SUV and was driving around “at a high rate of speed” at approximately 4 a.m. on Sept. 17, when he lost control of the vehicle and slammed into a fire hydrant, multiple utility poles, and a Ford Mustang that was pulling out of a restaurant drive-thru, according to the paper.
Officer Castellano, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, was ejected from the SUV when it flipped over, police said.
The vehicle ultimately landed on its wheels.
None of the five passengers, which included two women from Texas, were wearing their seatbelts, according to the Hartford Courant.
Some of the other passengers in the SUV suffered minor injuries, police said.
Officer Castellano was rushed to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead, the New Haven Register reported.
Officer Ferraro allegedly “showed signs of impairment” at the scene of the crash and refused to perform any field sobriety tests, according to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD).
He was subsequently arrested on charges of driving under the influence and reckless driving, the New Haven Register reported.
Gabriel Grasso, Officer Ferraro’s attorney, said his client and Officer Castellano knew each other since high school and graduated from the police academy together, according to the Hartford Courant.
“No one disputes that this case is a horrible tragedy,” Grasso said. “It is a huge, huge, devastating loss that is being felt regardless of what ends up happening in this case. It is a huge loss for everyone — obviously the Castellano family — but it is just devastating for Robert Ferraro to have lost his best friend and partner in this way.”
Officer Castellano earned a bachelors degree in psychology from Central Connecticut University before joining the NHPD seven years ago, according to his obituary.
“Joshua’s life was a gift, and we are grateful that he could share part of it with his colleagues at the New Haven Police Department and with the countless community members he encountered while proudly serving on the police force,’’ Officer Castellano’s family said in a statement to the Hartford Courant. “Joshua approached his life and work with unmatched passion and excitement, and his genuine love for people was infectious.”
During Officer Castellano’s memorial service on Thursday, his best friend, NHPD Officer Jeremy Mastroianni, said he trusted Officer Castellano with his life and always trusted he had his back “no matter what,” the New Haven Register reported.
“You were loyal to a fault,” Officer Mastroianni said. “I’d follow you to the darkest, pitch-black corners of the city, and I felt good because I was with you.”
Officer Mastroianni said he recently asked Officer Castellano to be his best man at his wedding next year, the New Haven Register reported.
He said he bought Officer Castellano an expensive bottle of whiskey he planned to give him the day of the ceremony.
In honor of his memory, Officer Mastroianni said he will save the bottle to share years from now with his future son, whose name will be Joshua, the New Haven Register reported.
“I never told you this, but you were my big brother. I looked up to you so much,” Officer Mastroianni said during the service. “I love you, Josh. We all love you. We’re going to tell your stories forever.”
Officer Castellano leaves behind his mother, as well as many friends and extended family members, according to his obituary.
.@NewHavenPolice ofc. Joshua Castellano died in a Las Vegas crash of a car driven by a fellow New Haven cop Friday. Today, we speak with an NHPD Lt., who knew Castellano very well. Plus, an update on the status of the ofc. charged with DUI and reckless driving. @FOX61News at 4, 5 pic.twitter.com/vwzq21ZQWV
— Tony Terzi (@T2Fox61) September 20, 2021
“He was my angel.”
Alex Flores (right) is one of many in the New Haven area still grieving over the death of his dear friend, Ofc. Joshua Castellano.
Fellow Ofc. Robert Ferraro, who’s charged in the crash that killed him, is out on bond in NV.
— Dennis Valera (@dennisreports) September 20, 2021
— Jessica Hill (@NutmegNews) September 24, 2021
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of New Haven Police Department Officer Joshua Castellano, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.