Katherine Ann Berman, wife of ESPN broadcaster Chris Berman, was one of two people who died in a car crash in western Connecticut Tuesday.
The crash happened about 2:15 p.m. on a state road in Woodbury, state police said. In addition to Berman, 67, 87-year-old Edward Bertulis was killed, police said Wednesday morning.
Troopers are investigating the possibility that Bertulis suffered a medical emergency right before Berman’s Lexus crashed into the back of his car on Route 64 near Tuttle Road, a state police source told the Courant.
Bertulis’daughter, Nancy Bertulis, said her father was healthy and drove the speed limit. He was coming from the cemetery — where he was visiting her mother’s grave — at the time of the crash, she said.
Statement from ESPN President John Skipper on the passing of Chris Berman's wife, Kathy: pic.twitter.com/xn3e854au1
— ESPN PR (@ESPNPR) May 10, 2017
“This is a devastating tragedy and difficult to comprehend. Chris is beloved by all his ESPN colleagues and for good reason: He has a huge heart and has given so much to so many over the years,” he said. “We know how much his family means to him and all we can do at a moment like this is give him the love and support he will surely need at this hour. Our thoughts and prayers are with Chris, Meredith, Doug and the entire family.”
Our hearts are heavy at ESPN as we report the tragic news that Kathy Berman, wife of Chris Berman, was killed in… https://t.co/H4umf58LTh
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 10, 2017
According to the state police, a 2003 Lexus SC 430 driven by Berman and a 2003 Ford Escape X driven by Bertulis were headed east on Sherman Hill Road, about a mile and a half from the Quassy Amusement Park in Middlebury, at the time of the crash. The Lexus — owned by Chris Berman — was behind the Ford.
The Lexus rear-ended Bertulis’ Ford and continued traveling east, veering off the road to the right, state police said. The Lexus went down an embankment and overturned in a small body of water, state police said. The Ford also went off the road, striking a utility pole and landing in the middle of the road on its roof.
Like many of u I am Heartbrokrn over the news of the tragic passing of Kathy Berman / Prayers go out to Chris & his family May she RIP
— Dick Vitale (@DickieV) May 10, 2017
Bertulis, of Welles Street in Waterbury, was taken to Waterbury Hospital, where he died, police said. Berman, of Peach Tree Court in Cheshire, died at the scene.
Chris Berman is one of the most recognizable sports broadcasters in the history of televised sports. Born in Greenwich, his sportscasting career began at Hartford’s WVIT as a weekend sports anchor.
He joined ESPN at age 24, just one month after its founding. Wednesday is his 62nd birthday.
Katherine and Chris Berman were together more than 30 years. In the ’80s, Chris faked car trouble for the opportunity to ask her for a date, the Courant’s Michael Arace wrote in 1993.
They were married in 1983, when Katherine was a fourth-grade teacher in Waterbury, according to their wedding announcement in the New York Times.
My heart goes out to Chris Berman. His beautiful wife worked tirelessly for the community. Thoughts and prayers are with his family.
— Molly Qerim (@MollyQerim) May 10, 2017
Katherine Alexinski was a graduate of Waterbury’s Wilby High School, her wedding announcement in the Waterbury Republican-American said.
An elementary education major, she attended UConn from the fall of 1967 through the spring of 1971, according to Stephanie Reitz, university spokeswoman. She received a Bachelor of Science in Education with honors on June 7, 1971.
Berman worked at Waterbury Public Schools from 1972 to 1987, teaching fourth grade at Chase Elementary School and, later, first grade at Rotella Elementary School, school records show.
She worked “tirelessly” to overcome illiteracy in the greater Waterbury area, Molly Qerim, ESPN’s First Take host and a fellow UConn graduate, said on ESPN Wednesday morning.
Nancy Bertulis, Edward Bertulis’ daughter, released a statement on behalf of her siblings.
“This is a difficult time for both families,” she said. “We would appreciate our privacy as we grieve our loss. My father was healthy and happy and drove the speed limit. He was coming from the cemetery, where he went every day to visit my mother. He had five children, seven grandchildren and two great children.”
Their mother died in August of 2015, Bertulis said.