Alleged Drunk Driver Now Faces Manslaughter

Parsippany resident charged with first-degree aggravated manslaughter, bail increased.

A Parsippany woman who was 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.

Natalie Davis May 15, 2012 at 11:12 PM
Absolutely correct, EH Resident.
Madison Cyclist May 15, 2012 at 11:53 PM
Ok, let's wait for the system to work this case. We might as well wait for the bloodwork, too. What the heck, doing 65mph on Ridgedale Ave in the middle of the afternoon? I'm sure it will come back squeaky clean. Sure, Vanessa is human, but she did an inhuman act. Deflecting attention from her selfish decision to drive drunk won't change the facts. Mr. Politi got up that morning having no idea that was going to be his last day on earth. Can you imagine what Christmas 2012 is going to be like in the Politi household? This family is going to be emotionally impacted for decades by this single act. Hopefully, Vanessa takes responsibility for her actions.
NJ Resident11 May 29, 2012 at 11:55 PM
vanessa byrne is from a big and well liked family in chatham, i cant imagine what the byrnes and politis are going through. god bless
T Zinger June 19, 2012 at 08:49 PM
I agree, Madison cyclist. And to think that she can drive til she has her day in court! Scary! E.H Resident, wouldn't matter if it is a family member or friend, if they chose to drink & drive then they deserve the punishment. They could have called for a ride, but instead think they are invincible.
East Hanover Resident August 12, 2012 at 02:52 AM
to the east hanover resident who has the balls to stick up for her....one thing to say to you....how would you feel if she ran over your son, husband, father, brother/sister or friend...???


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