Prosecution: Video Contradicts Alleged Drunk Driver's Account

Parsippany resident told authorities East Hanover man pulled out in front of her vehicle.

A business security camera's footage contradicts the account a Parsippany woman gave to authorities immediately after the incident, an assistant Morris County prosecutor contended in court Tuesday morning.

According to Assistant Prosecutor Kelley Lavery, footage from the camera shows Vanessa E. Brown driving southbound on Ridgedale Avenue in the left-hand lane and suddenly veering into the right lane and into Ralph Politi Jr., who was not in a vehicle. Her car continued another 88 feet when it crashed into nearby parked cars, Lavery said.

"There was no indication of turn signalling," Lavery told Judge Salem Ahto. "There was no braking."

The surveillance tape contradicts statements Brown made Saturday when, according to Lavery, she told police she thought Politi had pulled out in front of her into traffic.

The assistant prosecutor also noted that Brown has a previous DWI arrest in January 2009 and was involved in two vehicular crashes in March 2011.

Lavery said toxicology tests conducted on Brown at Morristown Memorial Hospital are still pending. He said police at the scene of the accident detected the smell of alcohol on Brown.

He added that Brown, 32, is unemployed and has no children or property.

With the video of Saturday's accident, Lavery contended that the prosecution has a "very strong case" and that the $400,000 bail with no 10 percent option is warranted.

Brown's bail was increased Monday from $100,000 when Morris County Prosecutor Robert A. Bianchi , which carries up to a 30-year sentence.

Brown remains held in lieu of bail at the Morris County Correctional Facility on charges of first-degree aggravated manslaughter, driving while intoxicated, reckless driving, careless driving, failure to maintain her lane, driving with unsafe tires and driving an unregistered vehicle.

The judge on Tuesday informed a mostly silent Brown that he agreed the bail amount was "appropriate" and ordered her to surrender her driver's license and passport if she's able to post bail.

The judge also said he would mark the case to be considered by a grand jury.

It was also noted that Brown does not officially have legal representation yet. The judge said Brown's family has been in contact with two attorneys, Robert Woodruff and Peter Gilbreth, of Morristown, who may work together on the case.

Peter Rubinetti, the twin brother of Politi's widow, Rosemarie, was present to observe the hearing.

He said the Politi family is doing as well as possible under the circumstances.

"Hopefully, justice will be served," he said.

John May 15, 2012 at 03:43 PM
I love the Politi's and have many fond memories of the whole family. She will get what she deserves ( which I hope is 30 to life). I have been praying for the family as well as the monster who has caused all this. God would have it no other way. I pray for them all.
NJ Resident11 May 29, 2012 at 11:58 PM
vanessa byrne made a choice that many make every day! im so sorry that she killed someone but she is a beautiful girl and comes from a great family. god bless the politis and the byrnes.
Kelly Philbin October 02, 2012 at 01:08 PM
Beautiful girl? Look at her mugshot! She looks like the DEVIL!! Ralph was the beautiful person, shes a killer! It's not normal to be that drunk and high on cocaine at 1:45 in the afternoon.
Angelina October 02, 2012 at 01:14 PM
lol beautiful girl? are you nuts? she took the life of a beautiful man w/a beautiful family because shes a drunk and addicted to drugs. She deserves wha she gets. I bet if that was your family member that was killed, you'd be singing a different tune.
Ktown October 02, 2012 at 04:34 PM
R.Swanson you are correct it is not the alcohol industry at fault here it is the personal responsibility of the individual making choices. Just like guns and the gun industry it is the people that make the wrong choices not the Manufactures. This is a very sad story but unfortunately it will not be the last.


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