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Lavallette Man Admits Vehicular Homicide on Route 35, Faces Prison Term

Brian Kosanke (Photo: Ocean County Jail)

Brian Kosanke (Photo: Ocean County Jail)

A Lavallette man pleaded guilty Thursday in state Superior Court in Toms River to charges related to an incident in which he struck a pedestrian on Route 35 with a number of drugs in his system.

Brian Kosanke, 41, entered a guilty plea before Judge Michael T. Collins in the death of Thomas Castronovo, 80, of Warren, Somerset County, on Oct. 19, 2019. Prosecutors will be seeking a sentence of eight years in prison on the vehicular homicide charge and a concurrent sentence of 18 months on a separate charge of hindering apprehension.

According to authorities, Lavallette police were called to Route 35 North and Guyer Avenue for a report of a pedestrian with serious injuries having been struck by a motor vehicle on the night of the accident. Lifesaving measures were administered to Castronovo by first responders at the scene; he was thereafter transported to Community Medical Center in Toms River, where he ultimately succumbed to his injuries.

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An investigation by detectives from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Vehicular Homicide Unit, Lavallette Police Department, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office CSI Unit revealed that Kosanke was traveling northbound on Route 35 when he struck Mr. Castronovo as he was crossing at Guyer Avenue. Kosanke agreed to submit to a blood sample and was transported to the hospital to provide it, police said. The results of the blood sample revealed that Kosanke was under the influence of Xanax, cocaine, fentanyl and gabapentin when he struck Castronovo.

A warrant was issued for Kosanke’s arrest, and he was apprehended on Nov. 7, 2019. Kosanke has been lodged in the Ocean County Jail since the date of his arrest.

Sentencing has been set for Jan. 21, 2022.

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