CT guardsman, 19, killed in Waterbury crash days before wedding

WATERBURY — A 19-year-old who died in a crash early Tuesday was a member of the Connecticut National Guard who was supposed to get married Friday, according to the adjutant general. 

Spc. Josue Alicea-Tirado, of the 102nd Infantry, was identified Thursday as the person killed in the crash.

“The loss of this young man so close to what should have been the happiest day of his life makes this tragedy even harder to digest,” Maj. Gen. Francis J. Evon Jr. said.

“His wake is going to be on what should have been his wedding night,” Maj. David Pytlik added, 

A Waterbury resident, Alicea-Tirado was a guardsman for two years, the military officials said. He is survived by three siblings, including his twin sister with whom he was close. 

“We will close ranks to support his family and honor his memory,” Evon wrote in a letter to military families.

Pytlik said Alicea-Tirado is from a large, extended family that stretches to Puerto Rico and includes many members of law enforcement.

“They’re very proud of his military service,” Pytlik said.

Alicea-Tirado’s platoon sergeant described him as being “really diligent and really bright,” he said.

A mechanic, Alicea-Tirado graduated in 2021 from Waterbury Career Academy, where he studied manufacturing engineering, according to his LinkedIn page.

Waterbury police said the two-car crash happened in the 800-block of Watertown Avenue about 5:20 a.m. Tuesday.

Alicea-Tirado was taken to the hospital, where he died. The driver of the other car was taken to the hospital with injuries that were not considered life-threatening, police said.

An unoccupied parked car also was heavily damaged in the crash, which remains under investigation by the Waterbury Police Department Crash Reconstruction Unit.

Christine Dempsey may be reached at [email protected].