WARREN, NJ — The driver in an accident that killed the founder  of Warren's Edgewood Pharmacy,  83-year-old Salvator Thomas Castronovo of Warren, was charged Thursday with vehicular homicide, the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office announced on Friday.

Brian Kosanke, age 39, of Lavallette, was under the influence of Xanax, Cocaine, Fentanyl and Gabapentin when he struck Castronovo, and was arrested and charged with Vehicular Homicide, Possession with the Intent to Distribute Xanax Pills, Possession of Xanax Pills, Hindering Apprehension, and Driving While Intoxicated,  authorities said Friday.

Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer provided the following account:

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On October 19, 2019, at approximately 6:30 p.m., Lavallette Police were summoned to Route 35 North and Guyer Avenue, for the report of a pedestrian struck by a motor vehicle with serious injuries. Officers discovered Thomas Castronovo, age 80, of Warren, New Jersey, had been struck by a vehicle driven by Kosanke. Mr. Castronovo was administered lifesaving procedures from first responders and was transported to Community Medical Center in Toms River where he ultimately succumbed to his injuries.

An investigation by Detectives from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Vehicular Homicide Squad, Lavallette Police Department and the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit revealed that Kosanke was traveling North bound on Route 35 when he struck Mr. Castronovo as he was crossing at Guyer Avenue. Kosanke agreed to submit to a blood sample and was transported to the hospital for same.  The results of the blood sample revealed that Kosanke was under the influence of Xanax, Cocaine, Fentanyl and Gabapentin when he struck Castronovo.  A warrant was issued for Kosanke’s arrest and he was apprehended yesterday, November 7, 2019. During the course of this arrest, officers found a quantity of Xanax on his person packaged for distribution. 

Detectives also determined through surveillance camera footage that prior to police arriving on October 19, 2019, Kosanke removed something from his vehicle.  Further investigation revealed that Kosanke had taken an amount of Heroin from his vehicle and hid it on the side of the road, which he later retrieved after he was released from the hospital.

Kosanke is currently lodged in the Ocean County Jail pending a detention hearing.

Prosecutor Billhimer would like to thank the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Vehicular Homicide Squad, Lavallette Police Department and the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit for their assistance in this investigation.