Alleged Drunk Driver Now Faces Manslaughter
Parsippany resident charged with first-degree aggravated manslaughter, bail increased.
A Parsippany woman who was allegedly drunk when she struck and killed an East Hanover man before crashing into parked cars over the weekend now faces a first-degree aggravated manslaughter charge, the Morris County Prosecutor's Office said Monday.
Vanessa E. Brown, 32, had been charged on Sunday with second-degree vehicular homicide, driving while intoxicated, reckless driving, careless driving, failure to maintain her lane, driving with unsafe tires and driving an unregistered vehicle.
Prosecutor Robert A. Bianchi has replaced the vehicular homicide charge with first-degree aggravated manslaughter, which carries up to a 30-year sentence, according to Capt. Jeffrey Paul, a spokesman for Bianchi.
"Based upon the available investigative information as well as a thorough legal analysis by my staff, I have made the decision to file upgraded charges that I believe are appropriate based upon our laws," Bianchi said in a statement Monday afternoon.
Paul said the prosecutor's office had no further comment on the upgraded charges.
Brown's bail has been increased from $100,000 to $400,000 with no 10 percent option. Brown remains lodged at the Morris County Correctional Facility in lieu of bail. She is due in court Tuesday, Paul said.
Brown is accused of killing Ralph Politi Jr. near his auto repair shop at 30 Ridgedale Ave. in East Hanover Saturday at about 1:50 p.m., the prosecutor's office said.
Politi, 49, was standing by the driver's-side door of his pickup truck, which was parked in a space parallel to the roadway, when he was struck, the prosecutor's office said.
Brown's vehicle left the roadway, struck Politi and continued another approximately 60 feet and crashed into several parked cars in a nearby lot, the prosecutor's office said.
There were no other occupants in Brown's vehicle, the prosecutor's office said.