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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Mourning a terrible loss

By James Tinley
Register Staff
— A makeshift memorial site decorated with flowers and candles sprang up Tuesday at the spot beside the Westfield Connecticut Post mall where two Jonathan Law High School students lost their lives and a third teen was critically injured late Monday when the car they were in slammed into a utility pole.
Distraught friends of driver Shawn Foley, 17, above right, and back-seat passenger Jonathan L. Dolceacqua, 18, above, left, who died in the crash, and front-seat passenger Michael Vacino, 16, who remained in critical condition at Bridgeport Hospital Tuesday, flocked to the memorial site, many trying to find solace in each other’s company.
Foley apparently lost control of the 1990 Nissan 240SX he was driving along what is known as the Ring Road along the outside of the mall parking lot. Police are investigating whether speed was a factor in the crash.
The utility pole that 18-year-old Shawn Foley slammed his car into killing Foley and one of his teenaged passengers was transformed into a memorial Tuesday, and has become a meeting place for people to mourn their fallen friends.
Throughout the day, dozens of flowers and candles were piled up around the utility pole as the teens’ friends and Jonathan Law High School classmates met to grieve.
Matthew Zullo, a Law senior, said he came to the memorial to mourn with his friends and pay his respects to Foley and Dolceacqua.
Zullo remembered Foley and Dolceacqua as “guys that always had smiles on their faces.”
“The 18 or 17 years they were here they lived for the day,” Zullo said while choking back tears. “But they left too soon. We had big plans … now there’s a big hole, there’s (a) hole.”
Foley was in his senior year at Law and excelled at sports as well as academics, his friends said. He was an All-State track star and was a high school football team place kicker, officials said.
“Jonathan (Dolceacqua) was into cars, he reconditioned cars, he wanted to make that as a career,” said Superintendent of School Harvey Polansky.
Dolceacqua’s friend Joe Szyja, also a Law senior, said he and Dolceacqua would take “J and J” road trips - dubbed so for the first letter of their names, Joe and Jonathan, and enjoyed off-roading in Jonathan’s Ford Bronco.
“They were the quintessential high school kids,” Polansky said. “They were athletes, they were friends, they were family.
News of the accident hit the school administrators Monday night and they quickly brought in grief counselors and opened up the school to students that night.
“The love and outpouring of support was truly amazing. They were leaning upon each other; they were leaning upon their teachers and their coaches, staff administrators,” said Mayor James L. Richetelli Jr. who was at the school Monday night.
Richetelli said the entire city is mourning the tragic accident.
“I know that right now that our biggest thoughts and prayers go out to the families of these three youngsters, but there are hundreds of other youngsters at Jonathan Law High School and throughout the city who are feeling this in a difficult way,” he said.
Calling hours for Foley, the son Gerald and Joan Turko Foley, are from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Gregory S. Doyle Funeral Home, 291 Bridgeport Ave. The funeral Mass is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Friday at St. Ann’s Church, Milford.
Calling hours for Dolceacqua, the son of Michael and Patricia Lunn Dolceacqua Sr., are from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday at the Smith & Sefcik Funeral Home, 135 Broad St. The Funeral Mass is scheduled for at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at St. Gabriel’s Church in Milford.


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