A Howell Township man was arrested Monday and charged with allegedly causing the death of a 21-year-old rear-seat passenger in a car he was driving on a township road in April, and that he was operating recklessly and under the influence of alcohol.
Joseph Gonsalves, 20, of Sugarbush Rd. in Howell, is charged with one count of second degree vehicular homicide, and motor vehicle violations of driving while intoxicated, underage driving while intoxicated, reckless driving, speeding, and failure to maintain lane, according to the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office.
Gonsalves surrendered to police yesterday and was transferred to the county jail in Freehold, in lieu of $75,000 bail with no 10 percent cash alternative, as set by Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Angela White Dalton, J.S.C.
A joint investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and Howell Township Police Department resulted in charges that Gonsalves was speeding just prior to the crash, and was also operating the motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol when his vehicle crashed along Alexander Avenue in Howell around 10:06 p.m. on April 16.
Upon receiving a phone call reporting the crash, officers from the Howell Township Police Department responded to the one-car crash to find Gonsalves and his front-seat passenger uninjured but trapped inside of the motor vehicle.
Ronald Tremblay Jr, 21, of Howell, who was a rear-seat passenger in Gonsalves’ vehicle, was found unresponsive. Despite the officers’ attempts to revive Tremblay, he was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead, the prosecutor said.
If convicted of second degree vehicular homicide, Gonsalves faces a sentence of up to ten years in a state prison, subject to the provisions of the “No Early Release Act” (NERA), requiring him to serve 85 percent of the sentence imposed before becoming eligible for release on parole.
The case is assigned to Assistant Monmouth County Prosecutor Matthew Bogner, of the Office’s Major Crimes Bureau. Gonsalves is represented by Jonathan H. Lomurro, Esq. of Freehold.
Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.