Bristol man charged with DUI in fatal Portsmouth crash

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A Bristol man faces vehicular homicide charges after a three-car accident in Portsmouth that killed a 79-year-old man Wednesday afternoon.

Joseph Kalen, 49, of 99 Peck Ave., was arraigned in his hospital room at Newport Hospital Wednesday on a charge of DUI-Death Resulting and refusal to submit to a chemical test, and later released on $2,000 surety bail.

He is scheduled to appear in Newport District Court on Thursday, June 30.

Portsmouth police said Mr. Kalen was traveling south on Bristol Ferry Road at about 4:45 p.m. when he lost control of his 2005 Ford F-150, which crossed the center line and struck a 2005 Lexus being driven north by Elia Giust, 79, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. After striking Mr. Giusti's car, Mr. Kalen's truck struck a 2005 Ford F-150 also being driven north by Brian Leitao, 26, of Warren.

Mr. Giusti was pronounced dead at Newport Hospital, and Mr. Leitao was treated and released from Rhode Island Hospital.

After the accident, police said Mr. Kalen had an odor of alcohol on his breath and refused to submit to a chemical test. Bristol Ferry Road was closed to traffic for nearly three hours while police dealt with the scene, and police continue to investigate the crash. If you witnessed the accident, call the Portsmouth Police Department at 683-0300.

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.