Long Branch Man Admits He was Under the Influence of Xanax

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

Joseph Stovall, 48, pleaded guilty to second degree Vehicular Homicide admitting he caused the death of Victoria Tropper, 21, of Marlboro and a student at Monmouth University. Stovall also pleaded guilty to fourth degree Assault by Auto admitting 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.

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" (NERA) requiring him to serve 85 percent of the sentence imposed before becoming eligible for release on parole. He would also be under parole supervision for three years following his release from state prison.

Long Branch police responded to the report of a motor vehicle accident along Joline Avenue around 7:45 p.m. on Sept. 11, 2013. Tropper and Triano, 49, were involved in a minor fender bender and pulled their vehicles into the shoulder to inspect the damage and exchange information. The two were standing between their respective vehicles when the Dodge Ram pick-up truck driven by Stovall swerved into the shoulder colliding with Tropper’s vehicle pushing it into Triano causing multiple lacerations before striking and killing Tropper.

The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutors Melanie Falco and Stephanie Dugan.

Stovall is represented by Charles Moriarty, Esq., of Red Bank.

Stovall is scheduled to return for sentencing in Monmouth County Superior Court on Oct. 28, 2016, before Judge Anthony J. Mellaci, Jr. P.J.Cr.