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Marlboro resident sentenced to 6 years for fatal crash

A Marlboro resident has been sentenced to six years in prison on charges of vehicular homicide and driving while intoxicated. The sentence stems from the December 2014 fatal motor vehicle crash that took the life of a 32-year-old Old Bridge man, Monmouth County Acting Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni announced.

Robert A. Pennington, 51, was sentenced on April 22 to the six-year New Jersey state prison term by state Superior Court Judge Anthony J. Mellaci Jr., sitting in Freehold. Pennington must serve five years and one month of his sentence before he is eligible for parole, according to the prosecutor.

In January, Pennington pleaded guilty to second degree death by auto and a motor vehicle summons for driving while intoxicated. In pleading guilty, Pennington admitted that on Dec. 5, 2014, he consumed more than seven beers before getting behind the wheel of his 2008 Chrysler Town and County minivan, driving the vehicle recklessly on Route 34 in Holmdel, and striking a vehicle being operated by the victim, Siva Kovvuri.

The fatal collision occurred shortly before midnight on Route 34 in Holmdel, near the intersection of East Lawn Drive. A joint investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, the Monmouth County Serious Collision Analysis Response Team and the Holmdel Police Department revealed that Pennington was the sole occupant and driver of a minivan traveling southbound on Route 34, according to the prosecutor’s office.

The second vehicle, a 2008 Hyundai Accent operated by Kovvuri, was traveling north on Route 34. As Pennington approached a slight curve in the road, he failed to properly negotiate the bend and continued straight, crossing over the double yellow lines and into the opposing lane of traffic, striking the Hyundai head on.

Kovvuri, who was wearing his seatbelt at the time of the crash, sustained significant traumatic injuries to his head, torso and extremities and was pronounced dead at the scene. Pennington was transported to Bayshore Community Hospital, Holmdel, as a precaution and was later released without injuries, according to the prosecutor’s office.

The investigation further revealed that Pennington spent several hours leading up to the fatal collision consuming beer at a business in Keyport. After the crash, a blood sample taken revealed that Pennington had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.258 percent, which is more than three times the legal limit in New Jersey, according to the prosecutor.

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