Taking a walk along Ridgefield Rd. was risky business for actor and Wilton resident Joe Pantoliano on Friday, May 1. While on an outing with his family, shortly after 5 p.m., he was struck by a car that slid into him after colliding with another vehicle.
Lt. Robert Kluk, the Wilton Police Department public information officer, confirmed that Pantoliano was the pedestrian involved in the crash. According to a report issued by the department, a 2005 Chevy Suburban, driven by Frantisek Kopta, 61, of Astoria, NY, was traveling south on Ridgefield Rd. when a 2019 Porsche Cayenne, driven by Lynn Zimmermann, 54, of Wilton, attempted to turn left onto Carriage Rd. from the northbound lane of Ridgefield Rd. Kopta’s Suburban struck the right side of the Porsche, propelling it into Pantoliano, 65, who was standing on the corner of Ridgefield and Carriage Roads.
Pantoliano was knocked to the ground, striking his head and receiving multiple injuries, according to police. He was transported to Norwalk Hospital by the Wilton Volunteer Ambulance Corps. The operators of both vehicles involved were not injured in the accident.
Police issued Zimmermann an infraction ticket for failure to grant the right of way at an intersection in violation of CT Statute 14-245, which carries a fine of $137.
Variety magazine reported that Pantoliano’s agent released a statement saying the actor was at home recuperating, and that family and doctors are watching for any signs of a concussion or chest trauma.
Pantoliano’s Instagram account posted photos of the actor smiling and flashing a thumbs up, despite also having a stitched-up cut on the top of his head and facial abrasions. The message read, “Joey is home recovering. He has a severe head injury and some chest trauma. He is going to be dark on social media for a couple days while recovering. Thank you for all the well wishes and positive vibes. Keep them coming! We’ll be reading them to him to help him get better!”
Just moments before the accident, Pantoliano posted a video he shot of a rainbow that appeared over Ridgefield Rd. on Friday afternoon.
“Just look at that rainbow!” he can be heard saying. “How do you like that beauty!?”
Pantoliano has starred in Goonies, Bad Boys, The Matrix, Risky Business and Memento, among many others, and he won acclaim for his role as mobster Ralph Cifaretto on “The Sopranos.” The movie in which he has his first leading role, From the Vine, has been shown at several film festivals and was scheduled to open Friday; it’s been pushed back to July.
In her nightly update about the coronavirus crisis on Saturday, May 2, Wilton’s First Selectwoman mentioned the accident with words of caution about pedestrian safety.
“With a record number of residents out walking, it’s important for both drivers and pedestrians to be on the lookout and if necessary, modify their behavior.
“If you are walking on the sidewalk in Wilton Center, wear a mask as it is not possible to maintain a distance of 6 feet from other pedestrians. Walking into River Road is not the appropriate alternative to wearing a mask. Doing so potentially puts you, the other pedestrian and the driver of a vehicle in danger.
“When driving on Wilton roads, slow down and anticipate pedestrians.
“As most Wilton roads don’t have sidewalks, pedestrians and drivers must share the road. Pedestrians, please walk on the side of the road and in the opposite direction of traffic, as much as possible. Drivers, please slow down. Anticipate pedestrians and when you do pass a pedestrian on the road, not a sidewalk, do so with caution.”