Funeral Services Held for Pregnant Woman Killed by Alleged Drunk Driver
Funeral arrangements were recently held for the pregnant Verona woman who was killed by a suspected drunk driver from Belleville.
Police told the media that about 7:45 a.m. on Friday, March 3, Megan E. Villanella, 34, and her 30-year-old brother were waiting at a bus stop at Lakeside Avenue and Pease Avenue when Anthony V. Casale, Jr., 25, struck them in a 2006 white Mitsubishi.
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“Villanella was due with her second child in May, and was married with a 22-month-old daughter, Isabelle Ava, her obituary stated,” an article on the Verona Patch website reads.
Services for Villanella were set for Saturday, March 11.
“The driver also hit her brother, Derek Longo, 30, who was hospitalized with critical injuries, authorities said.”
No other information in regards to Longo’s condition has been released.
Prosecutors announced that Casale has been charged with first-degree death by auto in connection with Villanella’s death. Casale was also charged with driving while under the influence, failure to maintain his lane, and possession of controlled dangerous substance paraphernalia, prosecutors stated, according to Patch.
He is being held in the Essex County Correctional Facility in Newark.
An investigation into the incident is ongoing, and is being conducted by the Verona Police Department and the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes/Crash Investigative Unit.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 1,816 people were killed in crashes involving a drunk driver in New Jersey between 2003-2012. Drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher (drunk drivers) are considered alcohol-impaired by law.
About one in three traffic deaths in the United States involve a drunk driver. In New Jersey, the CDC reports that 1.5 percent of people reported in 2012 that at some point they have driven somewhere after having had too much to drink.
The woman’s husband of nine years spoke out about the incident, telling reporters that he can’t say enough good things about his late wife.
“She was unique and special and kind. She was the love of my life and she loved me and I loved her. She loved her daughter also.”
NO JAIL TIME
Commonwealth v. "H" (DUI case)
Client was charged with three separate DUI cases calling for mandatory minimum imprisonment of 90 days on each case. Client was advised to seek immediate intensive alcohol counseling. Client was sentenced to 1 year of house arrest after serving 3 days in the county prison.
Commonwealth v. "C" (Felony drug/Firearms case)
Client was charged with felony Delivery of drugs and illegal gun possession and was facing a mandatory 3-6 year prison sentence in the State prison system. Client was sentenced to one year of house arrest.
Commonwealth v. "S"
Client was charged with simple assault, domestic. After a hearing where evidence and testimony was presented, the entire case was dismissed by Judge Leonard Brown.
State of New Jersey v. "H"
Charges for young man charged with second degree aggravated assault were downgraded to third degree and he was accepted into the County Pretrial Intervention program with charges to be dismissed and record expunged after one year of misconduct free behavior.
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