Son says 60-year-old killed in Warwick crash suffered heart attack behind the wheel
WARWICK, R.I. (WLNE) – We’re hearing for the first time from the family of the man killed in a head-on crash in Warwick on Wednesday.
According to police, 60-year-old Michael Paliotti of Warwick was driving his black Nissan Maxima westbound on Main Avenue when just before 5 p.m. he crossed the yellow lines, crashing head-on into a silver Honda Ridgeline pickup truck.
The driver of the truck was transported to Rhode Island Hospital and was in stable condition at last check.
Paliotti didn’t survive the crash.
His son, Dante Paliotti, told ABC6 it was a medical emergency that caused his dad to cross into oncoming traffic. Witnesses told police they saw him driving erratically before the crash.
“They did say that he had a heart attack at the wheel and that’s probably what most likely caused him crossing the line and crashing because one of the witnesses that seen it was a firefighter and he happened to pull my dad out of the car and try to give him CPR. (The) ambulance got there, tried to resuscitate him and he was gone.”
Dante was at work when his mother called him with the news.
“(I) got to the hospital, I’d seen my uncle there…he was already crying, he was already, like, distraught. That’s when he broke the news to us, you know, that he passed away. Then we found out that he did die on the scene. I couldn’t believe it, like, cause you know, everybody has this thought in their head, like…their mom and dad are gonna live forever.”
Dante, the youngest of four children at the age of 24, said he thought his father would survive his injuries.
“The minute I heard he got into an accident, I immediately thought, oh, he got this. He has this, he’s strong. I know he’ll make it through. But then I found out he’s in critical condition but I was still praying for him, you know. Then I found out that he passed and my mind was just in disbelief.”
Paliotti was an Army veteran and worked as a painter, his son said, and he will be remembered for his sense of humor.
“Especially for the people that knew him, remember him as the guy that always made people laugh. He always had a funny sense of humor. At the end of the day, he always knew how to make somebody smile. He was an angel,” Dante said. “My dad was that guy that he somehow always made an imprint in your life. He was just that guy, you can’t forget about him. You just can’t. His face, his laugh, the way he would talk…I can still hear him in my head every day.”
Click here to donate to the family’s GoFundMe.
The Warwick Police Department continues to investigate. Anyone with information on the crash is urged to contact the department’s Traffic Division at (401) 468-4344.