BELMAR — A drunk, hot-headed Camden man who killed his girlfriend in 2014 after causing a car crash that sent the 26-year-old Howell woman flying into the Shark River will spend close to a decade behind bars.

Edwin Martinez, 24, was sentenced Friday to 10 years in prison by Superior Court Judge Joseph W. Oxley, sitting in Freehold Borough.

Tiffany Soto died after Martinez lost control of his girlfriend's car on Route 35 at 8th Avenue after blowing through a red light. The Honda Civic struck sign and traffic light posts and dived into a parking lot below the roadway, landing near the water.

Soto, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was ejected through the windshield and plunged into the river. She was later pulled out alive but died at Jersey Shore University Medical Center.

Moments earlier, Martinez had sped off from Connolly Station, a bar in this shore town, after having gotten into a fight and smashing another car's windshield, prosecutors said. Soto had went to the bar to pick up Martinez, but he ended up taking control of the wheel, prosecutors said.

Martinez initially had been facing up to 30 years in prison because the crash happened in a school zone. But Martinez copped a plea deal, pleading guilty to first-degree vehicular homicide in a school zone, third-degree assault by auto, and a motor vehicle summons for driving while intoxicated.

Martinez's blood alcohol content was .207 percent, almost three times the legal limit of .08, the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office said.

Martinez must serve at least 85 percent of his 10-year sentence before he is eligible for parole.

He also will lose his driver's license for five years.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story gave the wrong age for the victim, whose car Martinez was driving. She was 26.

Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-438-1015 or email

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