Beacon Falls Man, 24, Dies Following Head On Crash

The accident happened on Route 8 in Naugatuck when a wrong-way driver hit a car carrying a 24-year-old Beacon Falls man and a 22-year-old Stratford woman.

A 24-year-old Beacon Falls man who was involved in a  in Naugatuck Saturday night has died.

William J. Baer Jr. was pronounced dead Sunday at Waterbury Hospital, according to the hospital’s nursing supervisor.

Baer was the driver of a car that was traveling in the southbound lane of Route 8 just north of Exit 27 in Naugatuck when it was struck head-on by a van. Police said the van’s driver, 35-year-old Edmundo Mendieta of New Haven, was driving the wrong way on the highway – he was headed northbound in the southbound lane.

Baer’s lone passenger, 22-year-old Sara Chmielewski of Stratford, was listed in critical condition at Waterbury Hospital as of Sunday afternoon.

Mendieta was taken to Saint Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury and was listed in stable condition as of Sunday afternoon, according to nursing supervisor at that hospital.

Mendieta was operating a white 2003 Chevrolet van when it collided at 10 p.m. with a blue 2008 Honda Accord that Baer was driving.

A preliminary state police report did not indicate whether any of the three were wearing seatbelts.

No charges had been filed as of Sunday as the accident remains under investigation. A state police accident reconstruction team is expected to fully examine the details of the incident.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Farmington will conduct an autopsy on Baer either Monday or Tuesday. 

Maria Santos May 03, 2012 at 08:33 PM
my heart goes to the family my brother belarmino santos died last year april 29 by a drunk driver driving the wrong way on route 8 between exit 22 & 23 so i know that is a disaster my deepest sympathy maria santos from bridgeport <3
Kissfan73 May 18, 2012 at 01:53 PM
Can we have an update on the condition of Sara Chmielewski, the girl that was in the car. Is she still in the hospital? How is she doing?
Stephanie February 13, 2013 at 09:53 PM
There is a follow up article out now, in the case you haven't seen it.
Sara C. January 30, 2014 at 02:07 PM
My thoughts and prayers are with the Baer family now and always. I love you all very much! Rest in piece to my boyfriend BJ Baer.</3


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