Who we are:
Christopher House was founded in 2001 in West Palm Beach, Florida, by Chris
Occhipinti.  It assisted hundreds of individuals to become productive members
of society and transitioned others with the welfare to work program.

Christopher House also serves the state and local courts, assisting in the
transitioning of nonviolent offenders back into a productive role in society.  In
Florida, 97% of the individuals sentenced to Christopher House have
successfully completed the program.

We provide a new beginning to those who need and want it. Building a stable
foundation and learning new life skills is part of the experience that is
Christopher House. The
information on this page provides some background
about who we are and our purpose for being. Please contact us if you know
someone who needs and wants help.  




Tuesday, September 17, 2002

THE ACREAGE - Brad Vinyard had been drinking and was driving more than 90 mph Saturday
when he crashed a truck into a tree on Northlake Boulevard, killing a 17-year-old passenger, a Palm
Beach County Sheriff's Office investigator said Monday.

Traffic investigator Larry Colagiovanni said Vinyard, 23, of Lake Worth, likely will be charged with
manslaughter by drunken driving for the death of Christopher Occhipinti. However, he said, it could
be two months before investigators have the results of blood-alcohol tests and of DNA tests of
blood samples taken inside the truck that would prove who was driving.

Meanwhile, Vinyard has been jailed since the crash for violating his in-house arrest for a disorderly
intoxication conviction in March. The violation will keep him in jail through at least April,
Colagiovanni said.

Vinyard, Occhipinti, and two others were returning from a day at the beach on Singer Island in
Riviera Beach when the crash occurred at 4:25 p.m. on Northlake, just west of Coconut Boulevard,
Colagiovanni said. Occhipinti, a junior at Royal Palm Beach High School, was riding in the back seat
on the passenger side of the four-doored extended cab truck. He was not wearing a seat belt,
investigators said.

Vinyard was driving westbound and tried to pass a 1994 Ford Tempo driven by Stephanie Melfi.
The truck struck the rear of Melfi's car, veered off the north side of the road, rolled over and struck a
large pine tree, snapping it into three pieces.

Justin Walker, 19, a passenger and the trucks owner, was flown to St. Mary's Medical Center,
where he was treated and released, a hospital spokeswoman said. Another passenger, Michael
Neumann, 18, received minor injuries.

Witnesses told investigators how fast the car was traveling and stated that Vinyard smelled of
alcohol after the crash, Colagiovanni said.

Friends had erected a large cross at the site by Monday.

Occhipinti was a happy-go-lucky teen who didn't like school but had an "entrepreneurial spirit" and
wanted to be a chef someday, said Chris' father.

September 20, 1984 - September 14, 2002
About Us
Christopher's Story
Christopher House of Hope
Serving communities across America since 2001
Christopher House of Hope
is a non-profit
501 (c) (3)

All donations are
tax-deductible and 100% of all
contributions are used for
curriculum development and
program participant services..