Easton Family Killed In Crash On Way Home From Hospital

Three members of a Connecticut family killed in a wrong-way driver crash were on their way home from the hospital when killed.

Thomas Sr. & Olga Vitale, and Steven P. Rowland

Thomas Sr. & Olga Vitale, and Steven P. Rowland

Photo Credit: Abriola Parkview Funeral Home

Fairfield County resident Steven P. Rowland, age 65, of Easton, was driving his aunt and uncle, Thomas and Olga Vitale, ages 80 and 81, also of Easton, home from Yale New Haven Hospital when all three were killed in the crash in Stratford, according to their obituaries.

"While his death was abrupt and heartbreaking, his loved ones take solace in knowing that Steve died while doing what he loved best: helping others," Rowland's obituary said. "He wanted to be remembered for being a reliable family man who was passionate about doing what is right."

Thomas Vitale and his brothers owned and operated Lane's Hair Stylist for many years, with Olga working right by his side, their obituary said.

The three were killed when Massachusetts resident Alexander Dennis, age 21, of the town of Wayland in Middlesex County, allegedly drove his 2016 Honda CRV the wrong way on the Merritt Parkway (Route 15) in Fairfield County around 1:45 a.m., Thursday, May 9, in Stratford, said the Connecticut State Police.

Their obituaries said all three were known for caring about their families and the community and working to help others.

Rowland, a Joel Barlow High School grad in Easton and an architect with an office in New York City, completed many projects, including the Elizabeth Arden Red Door Salon on Park Avenue and, most recently, the new WPIX studios of Manhattan in the Empire State Building. 

After having children, Rowland was known for coaching soccer teams for many years. He was also a lifelong car enthusiast and collector and was heavily involved in the Greenwich Concours d'Elegance.

The Vitales were remembered as longtime members of the Notre Dame of Easton Church, where they served on committees and taught Confirmation classes, their obituary said.

"Olga always did her puzzles with a cup of tea and meticulously decorated their home for every holiday, especially Christmas, thanks to her frequent visits to Goodwill," the obituary said. "Thomas was a leader on many mission trips and marched in Washington, D.C., defending his beliefs."

Visitation for all three will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, May 16, at  Abriola Parkview Funeral Home, 419 White Plains Road in Trumbull. Burial will occur Friday, May 17, at 10:30 a.m. at Notre Dame Of Easton Church, 640 Morehouse Road.

Connecticut State Police said the crash is still under investigation. 

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