NJ man admits being on unprescribed Xanax in crash that killed college student, authorities say
A Long Branch admitted that he caused the death of a New Jersey college student in 2013, and that he was driving under the influence of Xanax, despite not having a valid prescription, authorities said.
Joseph Stovall, 48, pleaded guilty Friday to second degree vehicular homicide in the death of 21-year-old Victoria Trooper, a Marlboro woman who was attending Monmouth University, according to the Monmouth County prosecutor's Office.
According to authorities, On Sept. 11, 2013 at about 7:45 p.m., Trooper was standing outside her vehicle following "a minor fender-bender" on Joline Avenue in Long Branch between her vehicle and another car driven by Thomas E. Triano, 52, of Cherry Hill.
Police say the two drivers were pulled over on the shoulder inspecting the damage to their vehicles and exchanging information when the Dodge Ram pick-up truck driven by Stovall swerved into the shoulder. His truck collided with Tropper’s vehicle, pushing it into Triano, who suffered multiple lacerations, before striking and killing the college student, police say.
In addition to vehicular homicide, Stovall also pleaded guilty to a fourth degree charge of assault by auto, for the injuries to Triano. In addition, authorities said, he admitted that he had been driving under the influence of Xanax, for which he did not have a prescription.
Under a plea agreement, prosecutors recommended a sentence of five years in a New Jersey State prison. In addition, Stovall will be subject to the No Early Release act, meaning he will have to serve 85 percent of his sentence before being considered for parole. Following his release, authorities said, he will be on probation for three years.
The Prosecutor's Office said Stovall is scheduled for sentencing in Monmouth County Superior Court on Oct. 28, before Judge Anthony J. Mellaci Jr.
Toniann Antonelli is a social content producer for NJ 101.5. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @ToniRadio1015.