BEACON FALLS — Relatives of the driver who died in a crash on Route 8 last Sunday remembered him Friday for his love of welding and riding motorcycles.
State police on Friday identified the man as Daniel McLeod, 22, of 298 Morning Dove Road, Naugatuck.
At 2:23 a.m. on Nov. 25, McLeod was driving his 1990 Chevrolet K1500 pickup truck north when he veered off the road and collided with a tree about one-tenth of a mile north of Exit 24, state police said. His pickup became engulfed in fire, police said.
Authorities said he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Beacon Hose Company No. 1 responded, and it took about 10 to 15 minutes to get the fire under control, fire officials said.
An autopsy at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Farmington showed that McLeod died from blunt force trauma, smoke inhalation and thermal injury, an office spokeswoman said. It was ruled an accident, she said.
The case remains active.
It still was not clear Friday what may have caused McLeod to veer of the road.
State Police Sgt. Ben Liberatore, a state police spokesman, said the case is still under investigation. This type of investigation can take anywhere from 30 to 60 days to complete, he said.
McLeod’s father, Michael, said his son was returning home from a friend’s house early last Sunday morning.
His son liked welding, he said. He went to school for the skilled trade at Lincoln Technical Institute in East Windsor, and from there he got a job at Haynes Construction in Seymour, he said.
“He loved it,” his father said.
He said that was the only job he kept, and his son wanted to stay with welding for the long-term.
“Welding was the kid’s passion,” his father said.
Last year, when his son got his motorcycle license, he was thrilled with that, he said. Even when his son was a little boy, he had him on the back of a motorcycle, Michael McLeod said.
His son loved the freedom of it, he said.
He said his son was helpful as well.
Whenever anyone needed a hand, he would stop what he was doing to help them, his father said.
According to his obituary, McLeod graduated from Naugatuck High School in 2008. He also enjoyed drag racing, video games and hanging out with family and friends.
A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Monday at the Buckmiller Brothers Funeral Home, 26 Waterbury Road, Prospect. Calling hours will be held at the funeral home from 3 to 7 p.m. Sunday.