MADISON - A summer trip to the beach ended tragically for a group of teens on Saturday evening.
The Department of Energy & Environmental Protection says Environmental Conservation (Encon) Police responded to Hammonasset Beach State Park just after 7 p.m. for a car crash. DEEP says it occurred in the outbound lane of the entrance road, between the rotary and the ticket booth. They found an SUV that had rolled over.
There were six occupants of the car, two of whom were ejected from the vehicle. The driver and three of the passengers were transported to area hospitals.
One of the passengers, Nicholas Proto, 18, of Haddam, was pronounced dead at Yale-New Haven Hospital.
Proto is listed on the list of recent graduates of Haddam-Killingworth High School.
Community members and friends have been visiting a memorial inside the state park honoring Proto’s memory.
“They’re all in shock, it hits close to home because we’re a small town, we’re two towns kind of combined and we haven’t had really a tragic lost this young,” friend Chase Pendleton said.
Pendleton said his younger brother was a close friend of Proto’s and attended prom together this year.
The park was closed Saturday evening as crews investigated, and re-opened on Sunday morning.
The State Police Accident Reconstruction Unit is assisting EnCon Police with the investigation.
A GoFundMe account in Proto's name had donations totalling $15,000 as of Sunday evening, well over the goal of $10,000.