Westport Police are investigating a crash that killed a popular chef from Norwalk who was standing in front of the restaurant when he was hit.
The crash took place in Westport around 11:30 p.m., Saturday, March 4, in front of The Whelk, a well-known seafood restaurant, located at 575 Riverside Ave.
According to Lt. Eric Woods of the Westport Police, Matthew Balga, age 54, of Norwalk, died shortly after being hit by a vehicle and transported to Norwalk Hospital with life-threatening injuries.
The driver of the vehicle, who has not been identified, stayed at the scene and is "fully cooperating with police," Woods said.
Members of the Westport Police Department’s Accident Investigation Team, along with the Accident Investigation Team of the Fairfield Police Department, responded to the scene to conduct the investigation into the incident.
On Wednesday, March 15, Woods said the department is still investigating the crash and that no charges have been filed.
"The Westport Police Department along with the Westport community extends our thoughts and prayers to the Balga family during this difficult time," Woods said.
Balga, who worked at The Whelk for more than 20 years, was known throughout the area and in the restaurant community for his dedication to farm-to-table cuisine and for his caring soul.
A Bridgeport native, Balga graduated from Bunnell High School and earned his baccalaureate degree in computer science from Southern Connecticut State University.
"Cooking was Matt’s passion and people who knew him were amazed by his incredible talent," his obituary said. "Matt traveled far and wide with his cooking abilities."
The son of Theodore Balga of Stratford and the late Lois Rennie Balga, he is also survived by his brother Tom and wife Laura of North Haven, nephews Brian and Jacob, and niece MacKenzie.
"Matt was a loving and caring soul that touched the lives of many," his obituary said. "He loved to watch the reactions of the customers. The more unique the dish was, the bigger the reaction. Matthew also studied martial arts for decades and was a second-degree black belt in Chinese martial arts."
Family and friends may visit on Sunday, March 19, from 12 to 2 p.m. at the Adzima Funeral Home, 50 Paradise Green Place, Stratford. The interment will be private.
This remains a developing story. Check back to Daily Voice for updates.
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