WESTFIELD, NJ — Robert McGowan, 30, of Trumbull, Conn., has been sentenced to four years in state prison for his role in a 2011 crash in Westfield that killed 69-year-old Peter Tyliczka and seriously injured a passenger in Tyliczka’s car, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park and Westfield Police Chief David Wayman jointly announced Friday.
McGowan’s blood-alcohol level at the time of the crash was over the legal limit in New Jersey, according to the prosecutor’s offie.
McGowan apologized to the victims’ families in court, but state Superior Court Judge Scott J. Moynihan rejected McGowan’s attorney’s suggestion of probation as a suitable sentence.
“Probation is not a viable option here,” Moynihan said to McGowan, according to the prosecutor’s office. After leaving prison, “You will be able to live your life, and I hope you’ll make recompense for the lives you ruined," he said.
McGowan must serve at least 85 percent of the four-year term before he can become eligible for parole under the terms set down Friday morning by Moynihan.
According to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Caroline Lawlor, who prosecuted the case, shortly after 1 a.m. on Oct. 1, 2011, McGowan was driving his 2009 Honda Accord on Clifton Street in Westfield. Lawlor said that McGowan was driving approximately 45 mph in a 25-mph zone when he ran a stop sign at the intersection of Tice Place, striking a 2001 Cadillac Eldorado being driven by 69-year-old Peter Tyliczka, Lawlor said.
Tyliczka was thrown from his car and killed. A passenger in the vehicle, Tyliczka’s then-61-year-old girlfriend, was seriously injured and transported to a local hospital, where she spent months undergoing treatment and therapy, according to the prosecutor’s office.