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Driver admits guilt in death of Marlboro woman

A Long Branch man has admitted that he caused the September 2013 death of a Monmouth University student from Marlboro. The fatal collision occurred while the woman was outside her vehicle following a minor accident with another vehicle on Joline Avenue in Long Branch, Monmouth County Acting Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni announced.

On June 24, Joseph Stovall, 48, pleaded guilty to second degree vehicular homicide and admitted he caused the death of Victoria Tropper, 21, of Marlboro, who was a student at Monmouth University, West Long Branch.

Stovall also pleaded guilty to fourth degree assault by auto and admitted he caused injuries to Thomas E. Triano, 52, of Cherry Hill. Stovall also admitted he was driving under the influence of Xanax despite not having a valid prescription for the drug, according to the prosecutor.

As part of his plea agreement with the state, prosecutors will recommend Stovall receive a sentence of five years in a New Jersey state prison, subject to the provisions of the No Early Release Act requiring him to serve 85 percent of the sentence imposed before becoming eligible for release on parole. He would be under parole supervision for three years following his release from state prison.

According to the prosecutor, Long Branch police officers responded to a report of a motor vehicle accident on Joline Avenue at 7:45 p.m. Sept. 11, 2013. Tropper and Triano, then 49, were involved in a minor fender bender and had pulled their vehicles into the shoulder of the road to inspect the damage and exchange information.

The two motorists were standing between their vehicles when a Dodge Ram pickup truck being driven by Stovall swerved into the shoulder and collided with Tropper’s vehicle, pushing it into Triano and causing multiple lacerations before striking and killing Tropper.

Stovall is scheduled to return for sentencing in state Superior Court, Freehold, on Oct. 28 before Judge Anthony J. Mellaci Jr.

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