Man, High On Heroin, Kills Baby While Driving Under The Influenceeditor | 25/11/2018 | 0 | Drug , Incidents
On Saturday, July 7th, 2018, Raritan Borough, New Jersey resident Domitka Rosales took her two children to the park to play. 5-year-old Daniel Ortega walked, while Rosales pushed baby Matias in his stroller. Today was Matias’ first birthday. He would not live to see his second.
At 7:18 PM, a 2004 Ford Escape driven by 62-year-old Ronald B. Rebernik slammed into two parked cars on the other side of the road. The SUV rebounded towards Rosales and her sons, careened over the curb, and struck all three of them. It veered back across the street and hit two more parked cars before skidding to a stop.
According to Somerset County Assistant Prosecutor Natacha Despinos-Peavey, Rosales suffered a lacerated liver. As for the boys, “The 1-year-old was deceased. The 5-year-old suffered massive head trauma, which included a fractured skull, multiple facial fractures, and brain swelling.”
Rebernik was arrested later that evening, and charged with second-degree vehicular homicide, two counts of third-degree assault by auto, third-degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance, driving under the influence, driving under the influence in a school zone, careless driving, reckless driving, possession of a controlled dangerous substance in a motor vehicle, and a disorderly person’s offense of being under the influence of a controlled dangerous substance.
On December 14th, Rebernik entered a plea agreement where he pled guilty to most of the charges, though the careless driving charge and disorderly person’s offense were dropped. He is scheduled to be sentenced on February 7th and will face a sentence of 15 years in New Jersey state prison. He will have to serve a minimum of 85 percent of that sentence or 12 years and 9 months before he’ll be eligible for early release.
Defendant Was Arrested For Possession Earlier That Day
In court, Rebernik admitted to taking heroin before getting behind the wheel. Mere hours before the fatal crash, he had been released on a summons for possession of heroin and crack cocaine.
“After I ingested it, a few minutes later – I don’t know how I made it home – I had trouble driving,” Rebernik testified. “I went to QuickChek in Raritan Borough, talked to a few people, next thing I know the police officers were there. I don’t exactly remember what happened there.”
Police records indicate that he was taken to the police station, issued a summons, and released. After that, Rebernik testified, he got behind the wheel. “The first thing I remember is going up over the curb,” he said. “I don’t remember how fast it occurred.”
Blood samples taken from Rebernik after the crash tested positive for fentanyl, an opioid that is dozens of times more powerful than heroin. Heroin dealers often mix fentanyl into their product to cheaply increase its potency.
“It’s a horribly tragic situation for everybody concerned,” defense attorney James Wronko said. “It’s a terrible example of what the scourge of heroin and opioid abuse has done to society to both those who abuse and those who are unfortunately impacted by them.”
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