TOMS RIVER, NJ – A Lavallette man has pleaded guilty for a fatal crash he caused in 2019 in Lavallette. On November 18, 2021, Brian Kosanke, 41, of Lavallette, pled guilty to vehicular homicide before the Honorable Michael T. Collins, J.S.C., relative to the death of Thomas Castronovo, 80, of Warren, New Jersey, on October 19, 2019, in Lavallette.
Kosanke also pled guilty to Hindering Apprehension or Prosecution and Driving While Intoxicated in violation. At the time of his sentencing on January 21, 2022, the State will be seeking a term of eight years New Jersey State Prison (NJSP), subject to the terms of the No Early Release Act, N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2, with regard to the Vehicular Homicide offense, and eighteen months NJSP as to the Hindering charge. The sentences are to run concurrently.
On October 19, 2019, at approximately 6:30 p.m., Lavallette Police were summoned to Route 35 North and Guyer Avenue for a report of a pedestrian with serious injuries having been struck by a motor vehicle. Officers discovered that Mr. Castronovo had been struck by a vehicle operated by Kosanke. Lifesaving measures were administered to Mr. 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.
An investigation by Detectives from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Vehicular Homicide Unit, Lavallette Police Department, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation 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 for same. The results of the blood sample revealed that Kosanke was under the influence of Xanax, Cocaine, Fentanyl and Gabapentin when he struck Mr. Castronovo. A warrant was issued for Kosanke’s arrest, and he was apprehended on November 7, 2019. Kosanke has been lodged in the Ocean County Jail since the date of his arrest. Over the State’s objection, the Court released Kosanke from the Ocean County Jail on home detention following the entry of his guilty pleas.
First Assistant Prosecutor Nolan commends the efforts of Supervising Assistant Prosecutor Patrick Sheehan and Senior Assistant Prosecutor Jamie Schron who are handling the case on behalf of the State, as well as the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Vehicular Homicide Unit, Lavallette Police Department, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, for their cooperative assistance in connection with this investigation leading to Kosanke’s arrest, guilty pleas, and soon his state prison sentence.