A Lavallette man, who was under the influence of several drugs when he struck a pedestrian who later died, has been sentenced to eight years in prison, announced Ocean County First Assistant Prosecutor Michael T. Nolan, Jr. on Thursday.

Lavallette Police were first to the scene on October 19, 2019, responding around 6:30 pm,  to Route 35 North and Guyer Avenue on a report of a pedestrian with serious injuries who had been struck by a motor vehicle.

There were lifesaving measures performed on Thomas Castronovo, 80, of Warren, New Jersey, following the crash, but shortly after being brought to Community Medical Center in Toms River, he passed away.

The on-scene and ensuing investigation run by Detectives with the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Vehicular Homicide Unit, Lavallette Police Department, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, led law enforcement to learn that 41-year old Brian Kosanke was driving north on Route 35 when he struck Castronovo as he was crossing Guyer Avenue.

Following the crash, Kosanke agreed to submit a blood sample and was transported to the hospital, and the results showed that he was under the influence of Xanax, Cocaine, Morphine, Fentanyl, and Gabapentin when he struck Castronovo.

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A warrant was then issued for his arrest, and that occurred on November 7, 2019.

Kosanke was lodged in the Ocean County Jail following his arrest, but Assistant Prosecutor Nolan said that he was later released from the Ocean County Jail on home detention – over the State’s objection - following entry of his guilty pleas.

Then, last week, on February 11, 2022, Kosanke surrendered himself to authorities to begin serving his sentence.

Today, Kosanke was sentenced to eight years in New Jersey State Prison as a result of a previously entered guilty plea to Vehicular Homicide.

His sentence will be subject to the terms of the No Early Release Act, meaning Kosanke will be required to serve at least 85 percent of his prison sentence before he may be considered for parole eligibility.

Kosanke was also sentenced to eighteen months in state prison as a result of a previously entered guilty plea to Hindering Apprehension or Prosecution, but both sentences will run concurrently.

For his previously entered guilty plea to Driving While Intoxicated, he was sentenced to 30 days imprisonment, along with a three-month loss of his driving privileges and installation of an ignition interlock device in the motor vehicle he principally operates for a period of one year - following the completion of his state prison sentence.

First Assistant Prosecutor Nolan said that Ocean County Supervising Assistant Prosecutor Patrick Sheehan and Ocean County Senior Assistant Prosecutor Jamie Schron handled the case on behalf of the State.

Brian Kosanke, 39, of Lavallette. (NJ DMV)
Brian Kosanke, 39, of Lavallette. (NJ DMV)
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