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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.

A Concerned NJ Woman May 07, 2012 at 07:38 PM
Good. It is time to put a stop to the insanity when it comes to drunk driving. It is about time these people really suffer consequences for their actions! Maybe this will make others think twice before they get behind the wheel drunk and ruin the lives of innocent people.
monica lawson May 07, 2012 at 08:08 PM
No matter the punishment they will never suffer as much as the victims famiy. Sad but true.
Dan Grant May 07, 2012 at 10:55 PM
The problem is that they don't think or make a choice. It is tragic. Once drunk nothing rational enters their thinking. They don't get under the influence and Choose to go out and hurt or kill someone. They don't believe they are a risk to anyone. One offense and the Courts need to require a special device on their motor vehicle that requires them to breath into a tube to start the vehicle or no License ever. One offense. Not multiple. The first time they are stopped is not the first time they have driven DUI. The first time they hurt or kill someone is not the first time they have driven in this condition. People work up to this situation.
Stevie May 08, 2012 at 03:11 PM
@Dan. I agree. One offense. She never should have been allowed to drive again. Alcoholics are such selfish people. She was not thinking of Ralph Politi or his family. She was only thinking of herself, which brings me to the fact that she deserves 30 years in prison. The stiffest sentence. Ralph does not have 30 years. In fact, if you ask me, she is getting it easy. 30 years with 3 meals and at the taxpayers' expense. Shame on her. Bless the Politi friends and family.
Stevie May 08, 2012 at 03:13 PM
So true. I hope she receives the 30 years. But, she will receive meals, obtain college hours and she will have a job. Ralph Politi will not have the luxury of helping others, spending time with his family and friends. Bless them.
VietNam Vet May 08, 2012 at 06:26 PM
My thoughts and prayers go out to Ms. Brown and her family, because she has a long hard road ahead of her now. She made a very bad chaice to drive that day or to drink that day. She will face a long time in prison now to think about what she did, not saying she doesn't deserve it but thats not for us to say here. Thats up to the judge now. I feel sorry for her and for the Politi family for the loss of a father and husband. I knew the Politi's breifly, a few years back I delivered their paper to them, they were nice people. Its a shame they have to go through this, my prayers are with the family.
Nancy May 08, 2012 at 07:14 PM
All cars should have to have a device in them to be started whether it's alcohol, legally prescribed drugs, etc A car is heavy machinery that can easy kill or maim. Uts harder to sign on to computer sites with the cryptic codes you have to decipher, than it is to start a car.
Nancy May 08, 2012 at 07:40 PM
30 years in jail is not going to be more effective punishment, deterrent to others, or heal the wounds of those who loved him, than a fraction of of that time in jail. Making cars that don't start and other effective measures are what's needed for all dwi cases, not just this one
joe andrews May 10, 2012 at 02:43 PM
Vannesa Brown should fry ..she is a human piece of trash and may god have mercy on her soul.. drunk out of your mind at 130pm on a saturday afternoon. ..seriously at the age of 32 then to keep driving 60 feet and smash more vehicles.. she could have wipe out more people and children.. get a grip and the justice system should not waste tax payer dollors on this waste of life... and the jerk off who feels bad for her needs to get himself evaluted.. keep delivering papers you schmuck.. I hope i dont see vanessa brown walking the streets in 30 years...
barbara May 10, 2012 at 06:14 PM
Dan please they know before they even get back into the vehicle the laws no drinking and driving even if It's one or two It's not acceptable!! Hang her out to dry put the device in everyone's vehicle breath before u drive save a life !!
E.H resident May 15, 2012 at 10:38 PM
Not in defense of the accused but she has not been convicted of anything, the bloodwork has not been announced, and she has a right to her day in court where she will be dealt with appropriately. Also before all of you call for life in prison... She is a human being the same as all of us and she made terrible mistakes that will cost her alot of her life. However, I can be CERTAIN that someone in one of your families has driven drunk and been lucky enough they were caught and nobody was injured, or they were lucky and nothing happened to them. So before you call for life in prison just remember that it could have been you or someone you know and be thankful that it wasn't/learn a lesson and stay off the phones, texting, and do not drink and drive...
Natalie Davis (Editor) 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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