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