Law & Justice

Prosecutor’s Office: Connecticut Man Admits to Westfield Vehicular Homicide in 2011 Crash

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ELIZABETH, NJ — A Connecticut man admitted responsibility Monday for an alcohol-related crash in Westfield in 2011 that killed one person and seriously injured another, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced Monday. The crash occurred at Tice Place and Clifton Street.

According to the prosecutor’s office, 30-year-old Robert McGowan of Trumbull, Connecticut, pleaded guilty to second-degree vehicular homicide before state Superior Court Judge Scott J. Moynihan.  

McGowan, who according to reports quit the Trumbull town council after his arrest in the incident in 2015, apologized for his actions during the course of entering his plea, according to the prosecutor. He will be required to serve at least 85 percent of his term before the possibility of parole under New Jersey’s No Early Release Act, the prosecutor’s office said.

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McGowan’s blood-alcohol level at the time of the crash was 0.08 — over the legal limit in New Jersey — the prosecutor’s office said.

It was just after 1 a.m. on October 1, 2011, when McGowan was driving his 2009 Honda Accord on Clifton Street, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Caroline Lawlor, who prosecuted the case. McGowan was speeding 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.

According to reports, Tyliczka resided in Old Bridge.

Although he was wearing his seat belt and the vehicle’s airbag deployed properly, Tyliczka was thrown from the car and killed, the prosecutor’s office said, and a passenger in the vehicle, Tyliczka’s then-61-year-old girlfriend, was seriously injured and transported to a local hospital. She spent months undergoing treatment and therapy there, the prosecutor's office said.

An investigation involving the Westfield Police Department, the Union County Police Department Fatal Accident Reconstruction Team and the Prosecutor’s Office’s Homicide Task Force determined that McGowan’s blood-alcohol level at the time of the crash was 0.08.

Sentencing in the case has been scheduled for Friday, Oct.. 14, before Judge Moynihan. 

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