Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced today that Brian Kosanke, 39, of Lavallette, was indicted by a grand jury on February 12, 2020 in connection with charges of Vehicular Homicide in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-5a; Strict Liability Vehicular Homicide in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C: 11-5.3a; Possession with Intent to Distribute Xanax in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5a(1) and N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5b(3); Possession of Xanax in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10a(1); and Hindering Apprehension or Prosecution in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:29-3b(1).  Kosanke is also facing the motor vehicle charge of Driving While Intoxicated in violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.

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 Thomas Castronovo, 80, of Warren, New Jersey, had been struck by a vehicle operated by Kosanke.  Mr. Castronovo was administered lifesaving procedures by first responders and 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 Castronovo.  A warrant was issued for Kosanke’s arrest, and he was apprehended on November 7, 2019.  During the course of this arrest, officers found a quantity of Xanax on his person packaged for distribution.  Detectives also determined through surveillance camera footage that prior to police arriving on October 19, 2019, Kosanke removed something from his vehicle.  Further investigation revealed that Kosanke had taken an amount of Heroin from his vehicle and hid it on the side of the road.   Koasnke retrieved the Heroin after he was released from the hospital.

Kosanke is currently lodged in the Ocean County Jail pending his Arraignment.

Prosecutor Billhimer would like to acknowledge the exemplary work of Senior Assistant Prosecutor Jamie Schron who is 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 leading to Kosanke’s Indictment.

The media and press are reminded that all defendants are innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.