Belleville man charged in fatal Verona crash

NEWARK –

A 25-year-old Belleville man has been charged with first-degree death by auto in connection with a March 3 motor vehicle crash that killed a woman in Verona.

Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray and Verona Police Chief Mitchell Stern announced the arrest of Anthony V. Casale Jr. on Tuesday. He  is also charged with second-degree assault by auto and possession of controlled dangerous substance paraphernalia.

In addition, Casale was issued summonses for driving while under the influence, DUI within 1,000 feet of a school, careless driving, reckless driving and failure to maintain his lane.

Authorities said Megan E. Villanella, 34, of Verona, and her 30-year-old brother were waiting at a bus stop at Lakeside and Pease Aves. in their hometown at approximately 7:45 a.m., Friday, March 3, when they were struck by a 2006 Mitsubishi driven by Casale.

Ms. Villanella sustained fatal injuries. Her brother was critically injured and remains hospitalized in stable condition, authorities said.

Casale was scheduled to make his first court appearance on Wednesday, March 8,  in Central Judicial Processing, Newark. He was being held in the Essex County Correctional Facility pending arraignment.

The investigation is active and ongoing. It is being conducted by the Verona PD and the ECPO Major Crimes/Crash Investigative Unit.

Karen Zautyk | Observer Correspondent