29 Mar Funeral services held for pregnant woman killed by alleged drunk driver
Funeral arrangements were recently held for the pregnant Verona woman who was killed by a suspected drunk driver from Belleville.
Police told the media that about 7:45 a.m. on Friday March 3, Megan E. Villanella, 34, and her 30-year-old brother were waiting at a bus stop at Lakeside Avenue and Pease Avenue when Anthony V. Casale, Jr., 25, struck them in a 2006 white Mitsubishi.
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“Villanella was due with her second child in May, and was married with a 22-month-old daughter, Isabelle Ava, her obituary stated,” an article on the Verona Patch website reads.
Services for Villanella were set for Saturday, March 11.
“The driver also hit her brother, Derek Longo, 30, who was hospitalized with critical injuries, authorities said.”
No other information in regards to Longo’s condition has been released.
Prosecutors announced that Casale has been charged with first-degree death by auto in connection with Villanella’s death. Casale was also charged with driving while under the influence, failure to maintain his lane, and possession of controlled dangerous substance paraphernalia, prosecutors stated, according to Patch.
He is being held in the Essex County Correctional Facility in Newark.
An investigation into the incident is ongoing, and is being conducted by the Verona Police Department and the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes/Crash Investigative Unit.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 1,816 people were killed in crashes involving a drunk driver in New Jersey between 2003-2012. Drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher (drunk drivers) are considered alcohol-impaired by law.
About one in three traffic deaths in the United States involve a drink driver. In New Jersey, the CDC reports that 1.5 percent of people reported in 2012 that at some point they have driven somewhere after having had too much to drink.
The woman’s husband of nine years spoke out about the incident, telling reporters that he can’t say enough good things about his late wife.
“She was unique and special and kind. She was the love of my life and she loved me and I loved her. She loved her daughter also.”