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23-year-old Greenwich man killed in I-95 crash was Eagle Scout

Frank MacEachern, dariennewsonline
Published 11:41 am, Friday, August 12, 2011

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  • In this 2004 file photo, Michael DeFruscio, 16, of Greenwich, Troop 507, poses by the outdoor classroom he created at Camp Simmons in Greenwich for his Eagle Scout designation. Defruscio, 23, was killed in a one-car crash on Interstate 95 in Greenwich early in the morning of Thursday, Aug. 11, 2011, state police said. Photo: File Photo / Greenwich Time File Photo
    In this 2004 file photo, Michael DeFruscio, 16, of Greenwich, Troop 507, poses by the outdoor classroom he created at Camp Simmons in Greenwich for his Eagle Scout designation. Defruscio, 23, was killed in a one-car crash on Interstate 95 in Greenwich early in the morning of Thursday, Aug. 11, 2011, state police said. Photo: File Photo

 

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A 23-year-old Greenwich man killed in a one-car crash early Thursday on Interstate 95 is being remembered as an accomplished Eagle Scout who represented all the best values of the Scouting movement.

Michael DeFruscio, 23, of Cobb Island Drive, died after he lost control of the 2011 Infiniti he was driving around 3:45 a.m. near Exit 3 on I-95 south.

DeFruscio's former scoutmaster, Richard Margenot, recalled the young man's dedication to scouting and people around him.

"(DeFruscio) was the strong, confident silent kid," Margenot said. "He was the epitome of an Eagle Scout. He was a role model for all of his peers."

Riding with DeFruscio were two passengers, Samuel Lebreton, 22, of Cognewaugh Road, who was sitting in the front on the passenger side, and Owen Burke, 23, of Field Road, who was sitting in back, police said. They were taken to Stamford Hospital with minor injuries.

At least one of the victims had to be cut out of the car by firefighters, officials said.

A woman who answered the telephone at the DeFruscio home Thursday said the family did not want to comment.

The Infiniti struck a traffic cone, a Jersey barrier and a state Department of Transportation electronic sign trailer, State Police said.

State police spokesman Lt. J. Paul Vance said investigators are piecing together what happened and said it is too early to speculate what may have led to the crash or the speed at which the vehicle was traveling.

"I think it is important to understand that we need to collect all the information we can," he said. "We don't have all the answers yet."

The road was dry, the weather clear and the traffic light, police said. No other vehicles were involved in the accident.

Vance said state police accident reconstruction investigators were on the scene following the accident collecting information.

Kevin Nursick, a DOT spokesman, said there is no indication that there was anything wrong with the work zone -- a repaving project that stretches from exit 8 to the state line.

"There was nothing out of the ordinary with the work zone," he said, adding that the work should be completed in the next two weeks. "It is something that we do on a regular basis, and frankly we have it down to a science."

The electronic sign trailer that the vehicle crashed into displays a flashing arrow that alerts drivers to lane closures. The impact sent a part of the sign, which is powered by a small motor, into the northbound side of the interstate, Nursick said.

"The impact was so hard, and they were going so fast they knocked the motor portion out of that sign and sent it over the highway into the opposing lanes of travel," he said

Nursick said none of the debris struck northbound traffic.

The crash closed the highway for more than four hours, bringing traffic to a standstill during the morning rush hour on I-95 all the way into Darien. All three southbound lanes were closed for part of the morning.

The left lane of the northbound roadway was also closed for several hours because of debris from the accident in the roadway.

Traffic on local roads and the Merritt Parkway was backed up as commuters sought an alternate route. Southbound lanes were re-opened just after 8 a.m., but heavy delays remained for the next hour.

DeFruscio earned the rank of Eagle Scout -- the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouts -- by creating an outdoor classroom seven years ago at Camp Simmons in Greenwich.

Margenot was DeFruscio's scoutmaster for two years with Troop 9 Greenwich, which is sponsored by the Second Congregational Church.

DeFruscio was a natural leader who had a "pervasive love of the outdoors," Margenot said.

"If I asked him to help me to help his peers he was right there," Margenot said. "You could count on him."

A 2006 graduate of Greenwich High School, DeFruscio is the fourth member of the class of 627 to be killed in a motor vehicle accident.

Brett Miller, 17, a junior at GHS, died on March 25, 2005, after he lost control while driving on Hunting Ridge Road.

Steven Bawol, 19, died early on the morning of Dec. 8, 2007, while driving on North Stanwich Road.

Stephen Catanzaro, 19, was killed on March 12, 2008, when he lost control of his vehicle while driving on Interstate 20/59 in Bessemer, Ala., and crashed into a DOT truck parked on the side of the road. He was attending the University of Alabama.

Staff Writer Frank MacEachern can be reached at frank.maceachern@scni.com or 203-625-4434.