Police ID Villanova student killed in crash

Pictured: Dan Giletta and Patrick DiChiara. Giletta was killed when the car he was in was struck by a stolen SUV, police said. DiChiara was critically injured in the crash.
September 29, 2010 8:35:54 PM PDT
Police are searching for the driver of a stolen SUV after a crash that killed a Villanova student and injured another. It was standing room only Wednesday night at the St. Thomas Chapel on the VIllanova campus.

Heartbroken, stricken students came to pray for Dan Giletta, 21, of Meadowbrook Road in Wyckoff, New Jersey who died in the horrific crash and his best friend, Pat DiChiara, 22, of Toms River, New Jersey who was critically injured.

"It's really been a sad day on the campus. The dean sent out emails about what happened; it's just sad that this happened," freshman Biamante Astillero said.

The crash happened at about 12:45 a.m. Wednesday at the intersection of Haverford Road and Polo Road in the Bryn Mawr section of Haverford Township, Delaware County.

It all started when police received a report of a Range Rover stolen from a doctor's office near Bryn Mawr Hospital.

An officer spotted the suspected vehicle at Eagle and Haverford roads. The officer pulled his cruiser up behind the SUV and began to type the license plate into his computer, police said, when the driver of the Range Rover took off.

The driver of the SUV then crashed into a Volkswagen Jetta at Haverford and Rugby roads. The force of the collision caused the VW to flip several times before coming to a rest.

The Range Rover finally came to a stop some 400 feet away at Haverford and Polo Road. Police say the driver then jumped out of the vehicle and fled the scene.

Police estimate the SUV hit 100 miles per hour by the time it rear-ended the Volkswagen.

Emergency workers needed about an hour to get to the trapped driver and passenger of the VW.

The driver of the car, later identified as Giletta, died at the scene of the accident. DiChiara is in critical but stable condition with multiple injuries at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

"It was pretty horrific," said Chief Carmen Pettine of the Haverford Township Police.

Police K-9 units were brought to the scene in an attempt to locate the suspected driver, to no avail. The search for that driver continues.

Police are reviewing cameras inside the patrol car to determine if it can be released to the public and help with the investigation.

Giletta and DiChiara were fraternity brothers and roommates at Villanova.

Giletta was a senior electrical engineering student. DiChiara is a junior sociology major.

Their friends describe Dan as "honest, humble, selfless and a true brother for his brothers."

"We're a close knit community, so when something like this happens, we stick together," senior Glenn McGillvray said during the prayer vigil.


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