Man in crash died of natural causes

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State police at the scene of an accident June 27 on Beacon Valley Road in Beacon Falls. Robert Baker, 66 of Waterbury, was found dead after the accident. –RA ARCHIVE
State police at the scene of an accident June 27 on Beacon Valley Road in Beacon Falls. Robert Baker, 66 of Waterbury, was found dead after the accident. –RA ARCHIVE

BEACON FALLS — The death of a 66-year-old Waterbury man involved in a crash last week has been ruled natural by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

Robert Baker, of 90 Mohican Ave., was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident on Beacon Valley Road June 27.

Baker was driving a 1999 Pontiac Grand Prix just after 10:30 a.m.  when the driver of a 1996 Mercury Marquis tried to go by him, according to state police. Baker’s car drifted to the left, then veered right and hit the Mercury in the left rear quarter panel, according to state police.

Baker’s car hit an embankment and rolled over into the eastbound lane of the narrow residential road, according to police. Baker was extricated from the car by Naugatuck firefighters.

An autopsy found the cause of death as atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, or hardening of the arteries, according to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease can lead to heart attacks and strokes.

The driver of the Mercury, 56-year-old John Dagostino of 15 Elmview Circle in Waterbury, told police he saw Baker slumped over the steering wheel before the collision.

The medical examiner’s office couldn’t say whether Baker’s death happened before the accident.

Dagostino’s car went to the left after being struck and hit the metal guardrail alongside the westbound lane, according to police. Dagostino complained of knee pain, and the Beacon Hose Company transported him to Waterbury Hospital, according to state police. His passenger, 58-year-old Linda Bierwirth of 195 Andrew Ave. in Naugatuck, was not injured, according to police.

All three were wearing seat belts, according to police.