21-Year-Old Howell Man Faces 5 Years For Fatal DWI Crash That Killed His Passenger

FREEHOLD – 21-year-old Joseph M. Gonsalves of Howel pleaded guilty, Monday, to vehicular homicide in connection to a crash that took place in April, resulting in the death of his 21-year-old passenger.

Gonsalves was driving while intoxicated at the time of the crash and faces up to five years in prison under the plea agreement. His sentencing is scheduled for 22 May.

The passenger in his vehicle, Ronald Tremblay Jr., was riding in the backseat of the car. He had received a heart transplant as a child at the age of 6 years and was featured in the Asbury Park Press in April 1999. He was a first-grader at the time, struggling for life after suffering a viral infection. His family and friends, along with Howell sports leagues and local businesses, were able to raise more than $16,000 to help pay for his medical bills.

Gonsalves appeared in state Superior Court, Monday, before Judge Joseph W, to plead guilty to driving while intoxicated. He will have to serve at least 85 percent of the sentence before becoming eligible for parole under the ‘No Early Release Act’. He also faced other motor vehicle charges including driving while intoxicated under the age of 21, reckless driving, speeding and failure to maintain his lane. These charges will be dismissed at his sentencing as part of the guilty plea.

According to court records, Gonsalves had a blood-alcohol level of 0.147 when he was involved in the crash. He was driving a 2008 Nissan Altima and was taking a curve east on Alexander Avenue near Larabee Boulevard in Howell at around 10 p.m. April 16, 2014, when he skidded off the road. As a result, the vehicle hit a mailbox and two trees, before slamming into another tree.

21-year-old Brandon Roselli of Manalapan Township, a passenger in the front-seat, was wearing a seat belt. Gonsalves was also wearing a seat belt and sustained minor injuries in the crash. However, the passenger in the back seat died in the crash. He was taken to Kimball Medical Center in Lakewood where he was pronounced dead.

According to Gonsalves’ attorney, Richard Lomurro of Freehold, his client waived his right to a grand jury review, as well as a trial. Lomurro stated that his client was adamant that he wanted to take responsibility for this and not have the family and people involved go through a trial.

Gonsalves remains free on $75,000 bail.

News Source: www.AsburyParkPress.com

Off-Duty Police Officer Causes Fatal Accident Killing Fellow Officer

LINDEN, N.J. – Linden Police Officer Pedro Abad may have been driving drunk while off duty in the early morning hours of Friday, 20 March 2015, which resulted in the death of a fellow officer.

Police Officer Frank Viggiano was riding as a passenger in the car driven by Abad and was killed in the motor vehicle accident.

According to police reports, three off-duty New Jersey police officers were returning from a visit to a strip club when the accident occurred on New York City highway. Hours before the crash, Abad posted a photo of three shot glasses filled with what he identified as “Jack Daniels Fire on the house” on his Instagram page.

The photo also included a caption of a toast he had given. “The 3 of us, are decent people. There’s a decent woman out there for each of us. Sure it’s cool to be single every now and then, but I don’t give a damn what ANYONE says. At the end of the day, I want a family. I want to settle down. We all do. So here’s to finding that which we all hope for.”

Sadly, their vehicle crashed head-on into a tractor-trailer on the highway killing officer Viggiano, a civilian and critically injuring two policemen.

Linden Police Chief James Schulhafer said that an investigation is under way. Therefore, it is too early to speculate on what caused the accident.

Officer Viggiano and Joe Rodriguez, both 28-years-old, and passengers in the car, died in the crash. Rodriguez was a former county employee who was riding with the officers. Another police officer, 23-year-old Patrik Kudlac, was also a passenger in the vehicle. He and the driver, 27-year-old Pedro Abad, were both in critical condition and were taken to hospitals at Staten Island. Both of them were fighting for their lives and had severe extensive injuries.

The truck driver also suffered injuries in the crash, but they were not believed to be life-threatening.

According to the New York Police Department, investigators had Abad’s blood drawn and applied for a warrant to have the sample tested for blood alcohol levels.

A surveillance camera at a gas station recorded a video of a car traveling the wrong way on a service road just minutes before the wrong-way crash. The service road was adjacent to the highway and a southbound exit ramp lead from the highway onto the service road. This video was recorded at 4:48 a.m. and the crash on the highway was reported to 911 at 4:51 a.m.

Just before the crash, a tractor-trailer swerved out of the way of the car but a second tractor-trailer did not have enough time to veer away. The crash occurred on the West Shore Expressway on Staten Island.

The three officers involved in the crash were relatively new to the force. They were all unmarried without children. Abad was a six-year veteran, Viggiano was a five-year veteran and Kudlac had been on the job for two years.

Officer Frank Viggiano was a good person, well-liked by everyone. The incident is an unspeakable tragedy according to Royster.

Rodriguez’s family was also interviewed at their home in Linden. His father Angelo called his son “my pal” in the interview and said that they had planned to go trout fishing in two weeks. He said that his son was well-spoken and well-mannered and was always willing to help people. He also said that his son had lots of friends and loved basketball and fishing.

His father was not angry at the driver but was extremely saddened by his loss. He broke into tears at times while giving the interview. “It doesn’t matter if the driver was drinking because accidents happen,” he said. “I’m still in shock. He ain’t coming home no more.”

Joe’s uncle, Joseph Simone, was also interviewed. He described him as a family-oriented person. “He was too young. I was with him yesterday and he’s gone today,” Simone said.

“People are in a somber mood. I could see some officers with tears in their eyes. It is an emotional day for all of us. Like I said, we are a family and we’re all hurt by this,” Sarnicki said. “It’s tragic for people to lose their lives at such an early age, whatever the reason.”

News Source: www.Philly.com

Jersey City Man Facing Charges After Ramming Police Car While Driving Drunk

38-year-old Raymond Aguiar of Jersey City, who is facing charges after ramming a police car while driving drunk, made his first court appearance.

According to officials, Aguiar assaulted three police officers who were in their cruiser, and he refused to pull over while driving drunk.

Aguiar, who is a resident of the 700 block of Newark Avenue, had his bail set at $75,000 cash or bond. He appeared in Central Judicial Processing court in Jersey City via a video link from Hudson County jail in Kearny.

He is facing several charges including aggravated assault of three police officers after he rammed their vehicle. Apart from this charge, he also faced charges of eluding police, resisting arrest and possession of a motor vehicle master key. He is also facing criminal charges of possessing one bag of suspected cocaine, possession of two bags of suspected heroin and receiving stolen property in regard to a 1997 Honda Civic.

According to the prosecutor, Aguiar rammed the police vehicle while he was under the influence. He also eluded some unmarked cars as well as a marked car which was called in and then he rammed a police cruiser and also resisted arrest.

His past record shows that Aguiar has 22 prior arrests and numerous other convictions. He has faced criminal convictions for robbery as well as six disorderly persons convictions. Some of his other criminal convictions include eluding police, receiving stolen property, possession with intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of school property, possession of a vehicle master key, theft as well as two counts each of drug possession and burglary.

News Source: www.NJ.com