Steven Miele of 16 Frost Road, was found pinned inside a crumpled 1984 Chevrolet Camaro and pronounced dead at the scene by a state medical examiner, police said.
The owner of the Camaro, Shaun Glasier, 22, of 8 Holiday Ave., Derry, was the passenger in the vehicle and received non-life-threatening injuries, police said. He was listed in stable condition at Parkland Medical Center in Derry yesterday afternoon.
Glasier's father, John, said he had been with his son at the hospital overnight and his boy remained there for observation. The father said his son and Miele were longtime friends.
Police said speed may have been a factor in the crash. A preliminary investigation indicates it was a single-car crash.
Friends of Miele visited the accident scene Saturday afternoon, shaking their heads, crying and embracing one another. Bark on a roadside tree was stripped from ground level to two feet. Plastic molding and flaked blue paint lay at the base.
Shortly after the accident, an off-duty Windham police officer drove by and reported it around 12:20 a.m., in the vicinity of 75 Frost Road.
Mark Valliant, who lives near the crash scene, said the corner where the crash took place was dangerous regardless of the season, and there have been accidents there before.
"It's a sharp, tough corner," he said.
A police accident reconstruction team remained at the scene throughout the night, closing part of the road to traffic, police said.
Police will review the data on Monday. The Derry Fire Department responded to the scene and noted there was massive damage to the car.
No autopsy will be performed on the deceased, per the medical examiner's decision, police said.
Miele's parents were traveling out of the country when they were notified of the crash and are returning home, police said.
Friend and next-door neighbor Joseph Agri, 26, said Miele enjoyed cars, motorcycles, boats and snowmobiles. He was mechanically inclined and regularly did favors for his friends by working on their vehicles for little or nothing in return.
"He loved cars," Agri said.
Agri, standing by the accident scene, said Miele had once used parts from a friend's Honda, which had been in pieces in a garage, and reassembled it into a high-performance car.
Agri said Miele had recently installed an air intake on the 1984 Camaro that was in the crash. Miele had been employed at an auto-body shop in the past and was currently working installing awnings, Agri said.
"He could do it all," said Agri, who had known his neighbor for more than a decade. Of late the two had spent more time together, going on rides and such, he said.
Agri said Miele knew how to make people laugh, had attended local schools and was loved by everyone.
He said Miele had a brother and a sister.
The accident remains under investigation. Anyone with information on the crash is asked to call officer Doyle of the Derry Police Department at 603-432-6111.