Alexander Capelluto ’08, a rising junior in Berkeley College, was killed Thursday morning when he was hit by a truck while biking to campus from the Gilder Boathouse in Derby, Conn.
According to the West Haven Police Department, Capelluto, who was 20 years old, was struck by a 10-wheel truck at the intersection of Derby Avenue and Forest Road in West Haven at about 10:40 Thursday morning. No one has been charged in the incident, but the accident is under investigation by the West Haven police.
Capelluto, a member of the varsity lightweight crew team, stayed in New Haven after the end of term to train with the team, which has two races left in its season. At Yale, he also served as a Freshman Outdoor Orientation Trip leader and helped organize relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina. Over the summer, Capelluto planned to participate in the Habitat Bike Challenge, a two-month-long bike ride that raises money for Habitat for Humanity.
Berkeley Master John Rogers, speaking at a memorial service Thursday afternoon, said he had met Capelluto, the younger brother of Katherine Capelluto ’04, years ago when Alex visited his sister, who was also in Berkeley. Rogers said the younger Capelluto had since impressed him with the enduring nature of his friendships and the success he had encountered at his time at Yale.
“He amazed us with how much he was able to accomplish in his two years at Yale,” he said. “He is an extraordinary inspiration — he had hundreds of friends.”
Matthew Dennett ’08, a friend of Capelluto’s from home, said Capelluto was one of the most compassionate friends he had ever met.
“He was passionate about everything that he did,” he said. “He devoted his heart and soul to everything he did and loved it. If there was something that needed to be done, he would do it until it got done.”
Rogers said that although Capelluto’s parents were not able to attend the memorial service, his father had passed along a message urging the lightweight crew team to fight hard in its competition this weekend.
“His father told me that the lightweight crew team is under special obligation to win the Eastern Sprints for Alex,” Rogers said. “He said that Alex would have stood up and demanded that everyone do their best.”
Yale College Dean Peter Salovey, who also spoke at the memorial service, said Capelluto was dedicated to helping others and to engaging with the Yale community.
“He was clearly someone who was committed to his fellow rowers and to service,” Salovey said. “He really cared about other people.”
Capelluto, who grew up in New York City, graduated from the Horace Mann School, in Riverdale, N.Y., where he was elected class valedictorian his senior year.
“He was just a very nice person,” said Susan Garrison, a math teacher who had taught Capelluto. “Rather than being competitive with everyone else, he was very interested in sharing and helping other people to learn.”
Barbara Tischler, head of Horace Mann’s upper division, said Capelluto was one of the most respected students at school and always had a smile.
“I knew Alex when he was very young, in Little League on the West Side,” she said. “He was always so happy and upbeat that some of the kids used to call him ‘Happy Cappy.'”
Rogers said funeral arrangements have not yet been finalized, though details will be publicized as soon as they are known.