Police Log: Driver Knocks Down Tree On South Main, Charged With DUI, Dies

The following arrest information was provided by the Woonsocket Police Department. An arrest does not indicate a conviction.


UPDATE: Rhode Island Hospital reports the driver, Leo Villani, 54, of 149 Glendale St., Uxbridge, MA, died at the facility Jan. 6 at 6:45 a.m. Consigli Ruggerio Funeral Home reports they have posted an obituary for him.

Woonsocket Police were dispatched to the area of 564 South Main St. Dec. 28 at about 12:55 a.m. for a report of a car crash with injuries.

According to Patrol Officer Joseph Brazil's report, he observed a black Ford pickup with its front end resting against a tree in front of the address when he arrived. Brazil noted the truck was facing as if it had been traveling outbound on South Main, which tire tracks in the slush confirmed.

The tree had been knocked down, and had fallen into the adjacent home's driveway. The truck had heavy front-end damage, and both of its airbags had been deployed, according to the report.

Brazil saw emergency personnel aiding the driver, later identified as Leo Villani, 54, of 149 Glendale St., Uxbridge, MA. They removed Villani from the truck, placed him on a back board and placed a brace around his neck. Brazil reported Villani's eyes were bloodshot and watery, his speech was slurred and his breath smelled of alcohol. 

Brazil reported that he asked Villani if he'd been drinking alcohol, and he said yes, but did not know how much, or where he'd consumed it. Villani eventually said he'd had about four drinks that evening, Brazil reported.

Brazil administered a sobriety test, focusing on Villani's eyes, since he was in a prone position on the back board. Brazil reported Villani demonstrated a lack of smooth pursuit in both eyes. Brazil read him his rights and followed the ambulance to Rhode Island Hospital with a chemical blood test. 

Villani refused the test, and refused to sign a hospital release form. He was charged with driving under the influence, issued a citation for laned roadway violation and refusal to submit to a chemical test. He signed a summons to appear in Sixth District Court Jan 16 and was released.

Paulie10 January 10, 2013 at 04:26 PM
"A lack of smooth pursuit in both eyes"....ya don't say.The guy was strapped to a backboard after smashing his truck into a tree....
Rob Borkowski January 10, 2013 at 05:56 PM
John - Thanks for the heads-up. I've updated the story accordingly, after confirming Villani's death at the hospital and confirming his identity with the funeral home.
xmascrl January 13, 2013 at 05:13 PM
My heart goes out to the wife of Villani. He made the fatal choice, not her. Such a shame.
Erik Von Handorf September 15, 2013 at 10:11 AM
Subsequent media report (see Boston Globe 9/15/13) indicated that Villani allegedly stole $3.4 million, in his capacity as a financial analyst at the UMass Medical Center, in funds intended for the state Medicaid fund, and that the theft only came to light because of an audit done after Villani was killed in this accident.
Patricia September 18, 2013 at 02:48 AM
This man needed to be taken straight to the hospital, not questioned while prone and dying. So much happened to delay that process... he denied this, refused that, signed forms? I'm thinking that if the police had not held up the process, this man, thief or not... might be alive. It could have been anyone. Police have no business holding up medical care for anyone involved in a case where medical personnel are the first responders.


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