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Vigil Held For Victims Of Newton Restaurant Crash

NEWTON (CBS) -- The man and woman killed when an SUV slammed into Sweet Tomatoes restaurant in Newton were honored at a vigil Thursday night.

Hundreds gathered in West Newton's Cpt. Ryan Park to remember Eleanor Miele, 57, of Watertown, and Gregory Morin, 32, of Newton.

"The randomness of this awful tragedy makes us all feel insecure," Newton Mayor Setti Warren said. "It is incomprehensible what happened."

Miele's family members have been referring to her as the "rock" of their family. They believe she was standing at the counter of the restaurant Tuesday night, waiting to pick up a pizza to bring to fellow volunteers at Our Lady Help of Christians Church, when the SUV came barreling through.

Eleanor Miele
Eleanor Miele. (Family photo)

Two days later, the community is still struggling to comprehend.

"So many times I've stood at that counter ordering takeout," said Chris Brown. "It could have very easily been me."

Carole Stapleton worked with Eleanor Miele, one of the victims. Her friend, she says, was a character.

"There was a little white duck that sat on the pond out in front of City Hall and she came down every day with a bag of bread and fed that duck," Stapleton said. "Every day."

Gregory Morin
Gregory Morin (WBZ-TV)

Gregory Morin, just 32, leaves behind a wife and a fifteen-month old daughter. An attorney, Greg's colleagues say, "he was calm, smart, level-headed, astute, hardworking, responsible, collegial, a March Madness savant… and absolutely hilarious."

Seven others were hurt, many seriously, Tuesday night when a Volkswagen SUV plowed through the pizza shop. The restaurant's owners, in attendance Thursday night, asked the Mayor to speak on their behalf.

"We are so devastated by the tragic events that took the lives of two of our patrons, Eleanor Miele and Gregory Morin. The victims and their families will forever be in our thoughts and our prayers."

The driver, Bradford Casler, and his female passenger received only minor injuries. MassDOT confirmed to WBZ-TV that Casler's right to operate a motor vehicle had been suspended following the crash.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Ben Parker reports

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