EAST GREENWICH, R.I. (WPRI) – The woman who died in a head-on collision Sunday night has been identified as Cheryl Zola, a 61-year-old former Cranston police officer.
Cranston police confirmed that Zola, who lived in Warwick, had served as an officer for 16 years. She was one of the department’s first female police officers.
Joseph Iannuccilli, 49, of North Providence, was injured in crash and according to police “was already out of the vehicle and lying on the ground” when officers and rescue crews arrived. His condition has not been released at this time.
East Greenwich Police Lt. Jeremy Fague said an accident re-constructionist was assigned to the crash to determine what led up to the collision, if possible the cause remains under investigation.
The head-on collision happened around 10:45 p.m. Sunday near the intersection of Division Street and Sanctuary Drive, where Zola was driving west in the eastbound lane, according to police.
Fague told Eyewitness News that two eyewitnesses said the vehicle driven by Zola was traveling in the wrong direction on Division Street and they said they had to swerve out of the way.
“Both witnesses stated they veered to the right and drove off the roadway to avoid a head on collision,” Fague said. “Both stated that as the wrong way vehicle passed them they saw it collide head on with a vehicle that was behind them.”
Fague said the two witnesses stopped at the scene to help.
Zola was found inside her vehicle, in and out of consciousness. Fague said she was taken to Rhode Island Hospital where she died while undergoing treatment in the emergency room.
Iannuccilli was found laying on the ground outside his vehicle. He was conscious but he told EMT’s he was in pain and was taken to Kent Hospital.