Police charge man in connection with crash that sparked fire

Timothy Chapman

NAUGATUCK — Police have charged a 27-year-old Naugatuck man in connection with an accident on Cherry Street last month that caused a fire that shut down Mario’s Pizzeria for days.

Timothy Chapman, of 1289 New Haven Road, was driving a Toyota Scion south on Cherry Street shortly after 2 a.m. on Jan. 19 when he lost control on a curve and crashed into a guide wire and utility pole, according to police.

Police say Chapman was driving under the influence at the time of the accident.

The crash damaged the utility pole, bringing down wires and sparking a fire at the building that  houses Mario’s Pizzeria, located at 123 Cherry St. The road was closed and nearby buildings lost power.

At the time, Fire Marshal Robert Weaver said that high-voltage wires on the utility pole run directly from the electric substation on Cherry Street Extension. The wires electrified the gutters and wiring throughout the restaurant, and set the siding ablaze, he said.

Although there was no damage to the interior, the power surge damaged wiring and the restaurant was closed for several days.

After the crash, Chapman was taken to a local hospital with injuries. There were no other reports of injuries.

Chapman turned himself in to police Friday and was charged with traveling unreasonably fast, illegal operation of a motor vehicle under the influence and failure to drive in the proper lane.

He was released on a $5,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in Waterbury Superior Court on Thursday.