Two people were killed and seven were left injured after an SUV crashed through a pizza shop in Newton on Tuesday night.
The car crashed into Sweet Tomatoes after coming straight down Chestnut Street across Washington Street without braking, according to Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan. Witnesses said the car struck another SUV before plowing into the restaurant. It did so much damage there were concerns of a possible building collapse. Those who lived above the pizza shop could not spend Tuesday night in their apartments.
Both victims were identified Wednesday. Family members said Eleanor Miele, 57, had gone to Sweet Tomatoes to pick up a pizza before heading to Our Lady Help of Christians Church to decorate for Easter.
"She just was the nicest, sweetest person you’d ever want to meet. Very caring, very loving," said Miele’s sister, Mary Cicciu.
Miele, a law firm office manager, had no children but relatives said she was very close to her many nieces and nephews. Her husband George said he was asleep Tuesday night when police knocked at the door to tell him the terrible news. He got a ride to get her pickup truck, which still had the bag of Easter egg decorations inside.
"I’m still saying to myself, why? She was my best friend," said George Miele. "I want to remember her the way she was."
The second victim was identified as 32-year-old Gregory Morin, of Newton. Like Miele, he was also a customer at the time of the crash.
Morin worked as an attorney at Latham & Watkins.
In a statement, the law firm said,
"Greg was a wonderful colleague and friend to many in Boston and throughout our firm. He was a highly-skilled young lawyer and compassionate person with incredible spirit and singular wit.
Seven people were taken to area hospitals and all the restaurant’s employees have been accounted for, according to Ryan. The D.A. said four of those injured were employees: a 19-year-old female from Marshfield; a 27-year-old female from Waltham; a 34-year-old male from Dedham; and a 32-year-old male from Dedham. Three customers were also injured: a 44-year-old male from Newton; a 35-year-old female from Newton; and a 30-year-old male from Brockton. At least three victims were treated at the hospital and released.
The male driver also suffered injuries and his driver’s license has been revoked, pending an investigation into the crash. He has been released from a hospital.
Strangers brought flowers to the site on Wednesday, offering prayers to the victims’ families.
On Wednesday, Newton Mayor Setti Warren released a statement about the crash:
"Today is a very sad day in the City of Newton. The accident that occurred in West Newton last night was a terrible tragedy, and my heart goes out to the victims and their loved ones. I am extremely grateful for the first responders who did an extraordinary job under very difficult circumstances last night. We will continue to work closely with the District Attorney’s officer and law enforcement officials as developments unfold."
The mayor said a vigil will be held in honor of the victims Thursday night. First responders, clergy and community members will gather at the Newton Police headquarters at 1321 Washington Street in West Newton at 6:30 p.m.
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