Regina Sung, Photo Editor

Knowing when to hire a car accident lawyer can be crucial if you or a loved one has been involved in a motor vehicle accident. The New Haven Police Department recently mourned the loss of Officer Joshua Castellano, who tragically passed away following a car accident.

A mass was held at St. Mary Parish on Friday to honor Castellano, who served as a police officer for seven years before being assigned to the shooting task force. This specialized unit focuses on investigating cases of gun violence. In the wake of his passing, his loved ones have shared memories of him and praised his character.

While we may never fully comprehend the extent of grief experienced by those close to Castellano, his tragic accident serves as a reminder of the importance of being prepared for unexpected events on the road. If you find yourself in a similar situation, it may be necessary to seek legal counsel from a car accident lawyer who can help you navigate the complex legal system and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.

Castellano died on Sept. 17 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Fellow NHPD officer Robert Ferraro — who was behind the wheel —  was arrested and charged for driving under the influence and for reckless driving. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is currently investigating the crash that led to Castellano’s death. According to a press release from the LVMPD, the car was entering the intersection of West Spring Mountain Road and South Decatur Boulevard in Las Vegas at a high speed when the driver began to lose control of the car. As the car continued on West Spring Mountain Road, it collided with roadside utility poles, landscaping and a fire hydrant. The car turned over on its roof and ejected Castellano.

After his death, Castellano’s body was flown to New Haven, where a funeral procession of officers in salute marched on Prospect Street and Hillhouse Avenue in honor of the fallen officer.

“​​He understood that community policing is about using the spirit of the law to ensure that all members of the community are treated with dignity and respect,” Yale Police Department Assistant Chief Anthony Campbell told the News in an email. “Joshua was an excellent police officer but more importantly he was a phenomenal human being.”

Campbell further added that Castellano embodied qualities that could not be taught in a police academy, such as the ability to connect to others through a common humanity and the ability to empathize with residents. 

Among those who spoke at the funeral were officer Jeremy Mastroianni, Matthew Sapienza and Renee Dominguez, acting chief at the NHPD.

“He came from ordinary, humble beginnings and he became one of the most loved people in this entire city, and everywhere else he went,” Sapienza said at the event. “He did it one friend at a time. Friend by friend by friend, he garnered all of our love.”

Mastroianni, who said Castellano was his best friend and partner in the department, fondly remembered their memories working together. He said their partnership was called “Nitro Hawk and Turbo Falcon” because they would routinely get on foot chases with potential suspects. Mastroianni also shared that he had asked Castellano to be the best man for his wedding next year.

Dominguez said that she was honored by the chance to speak at the occasion. She said that she was Castellano’s first supervisor and drafted him from the academy.

“Every supervisor he ever worked for fell in love with him,” Dominguez said. “Every one of us wanted 10 more Joshes. We wanted to fill every new vacancy with [someone like] Josh, because he was just that good … He gave 100 percent, never complained, and did it with a smile.”

In a note circulated by NHPD Public Information Officer Scott Shumway, the Castellano family said that at this difficult time, they are comforted by the “overwhelming love and support” they have received from Castellano’s colleagues and the New Haven community.

They also said that they are comforted by the acts of service Castellano showed during his time as an officer. 

“We hope that others will honor Joshua’s memory by following his excellent example of selfless service to the community,” the Castellano family wrote. “As we pray for strength during this dark time, we will celebrate Joshua’s remarkable life and the light and joy he brought to our lives and the lives of so many.”

Campbell said that Castellano’s character and traits were instilled in him by his mother Denise Castellano — who has worked as Yale Licensing Manager for four decades. Campbell added that he was thankful that she allowed the NHPD and the New Haven community to be blessed by his service and character.

Castellano was 35 years old.

Razel Suansing is a staff reporter and producer for the City, YTV, and Magazine desks. She covers cops and courts, specifically state criminal justice reform efforts, the New Haven Police Department, and the Yale Police Department. Originally from Manila, Philippines, she is a first-year in Davenport College, majoring in Global Affairs.