Derby teenager killed in 2020 crash to get memorial at Witek Park


DERBY — Alderman Gino DiGiovanni is a construction worker by trade and he expects to have a statue installed on his foundation in Witek Park by the end of the week.

But this is no ordinary contract gig.

“I’m going to bring gear up there so we can lay the memorial down,” DiGiovanni said.

The memorial in question is for Derby teenager Richard Ciardi, who died in a 2020 car crash in Seymour. His family has pleaded for a several times since his death and ta city will install the wooden statue on Saturday after months of discussion and planning. The statue depicts a soccer player and overlooks a soccer field in Witek Park.

Sport, said Ciardi’s mother, Sue, was her son’s passion.

Sue Ciardi, who declined to comment, launched a change the petition defend the memorial. The website says the loss of her only son continues to affect her and her husband deeply.

“He was our only child and our whole world. Every day we struggle to move on, states the petition, signed by more than 800 people.

Sue Ciardi wrote in the petition how much football meant to her son.

“He impacted so many people and had a smile that could light up a room and make you want to smile too. He loved life; but above all, he loved football. It was his real passion,” Ciardi said.

Mayor Richard Dziekan said he expected to hear remarks from the family about their son. The ceremony will take place Saturday at 2 p.m. on the Witek Park soccer fields.

DiGiovanni said he was happy the memorial is nearing completion.

“It was great to work with them. And they put a lot of thought into it and worked hard on it. I’m happy to see where we are right now,” he said.

Ciardi was 18 when he died in Seymour on July 30. He was driving at night when his car veered off Clinton Road and overturned.

Since then, the family and their supporters have launched various campaigns to secure a memorial for Ciardi, first at Emmett O’Brien Technical High School in Ansonia where he was a student, then at Derby.

The family originally wanted to name part of the park after Richard, but Dziekan said the city was working on an alternative option.

“It’s another track that we offered them and they really liked it, we worked together. We were able to get things done for him,” Dziekan said.

Ciardi’s family will maintain the memorial themselves and have also paid for the memorial.

Dziekan said it’s not uncommon for families to use city-owned properties to commemorate their loved ones. He cited the John Zielinski Memorial Path in the park as a previous example and the town’s police station driveway was named after a resident who was killed in action in the US Air Force during the Vietnam War. .

The memorial will commemorate the loss, but it also led to ties between the Ciardi family and DiGiovanni.

“I probably made lifelong friends through this tragedy, something new happened because they are wonderful people,” DiGiovanni said.


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