Lori Ann Weiss of Warren Township was sentenced on Thursday to five years in state prison following her earlier guilty plea to charges of vehicular homicide, after authorities said her blood alcohol content was twice the legal limit when she crashed her car into vehicle driven by a Bridgewater man along Martinsville Road in Bernards Township last January.
Peter Calvelli, a 49-year-old man from Bridgewater, died before a Medevac helicopter could arrive on the scene after being extricated from his car. His injured 25-year-old daughter, Rachel, who was a passenger in the car, was hospitalized for several weeks at Morristown Medical Center, said Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano.
Soriano on Thursday announced that earlier that day Weiss, 45, of Hazelwood Court in Warren, had been sentenced by State Superior Court Judge Paul W. Armstrong earlier that day to serve five years in the New Jersey State Prison system, subject to serving a mandatory four years, two months, and one day before being eligible for release on parole.
Armstrong also ordered the defendant to serve three years of parole supervision following her release from state prison, and suspended the defendant’s driving privileges for two years following her release, the announcement said.
Armstrong also sentenced Weiss to serve three years in state prison on an assault by auto charge for causing the crash that injured Rachel Calvelli. That sentence is to be served during the same time as the five-year term, with no additional time added, according to the judge's ruling, Soriano said in the announcement.
Soriano said that at 8:41 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 16, the Somerset County Communications Center received an emergency 9-1-1 call reporting a two-vehicle collision along the southbound lane of Martinsville Road, Somerset County Rute 525, within Bernards Township.
Multiple police and emergency services rushed to the scene of the collision. The two vehicles involved in the collision were a grey 2008 Honda Accord, driven by Calvelli, and Weiss' black 2011 Mercedes Benz GL450.
Soriano said that experts assigned to the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Collision Analysis Reconstruction Team determined that the driver of the 2011 Mercedes Benz, identified as Weiss, was traveling northbound when her vehicle crossed-over the double yellow lines and collided head-on with the Honda Accord that Calvelli was driving in the southbound lane.
Soriano further said that Calvelli was pronounced dead at the scene, while his passenger, his daughter, Rachel Calvelli, then age 25, was severely injured and transported to Morristown Memorial Hospital.
Weiss also was transported to Morristown Memorial Hospital and was released approximately two and a half hours later, Soriano said.
The next day, Jan. 17, Weiss was charged with second degree vehicular homicide, or death by auto, in the death of Peter Calvelli, and also was charged with third degree assault by auto for the injuries sustained by Rachel Calvelli.
Soriano said that a blood sample obtained from Weiss at the hospital was submitted to the New Jersey State Police Central Laboratory for analysis. A Certified Laboratory Report subsequently confirmed that the defendant’s blood-alcohol content was approximately .168 percent, or about twice the legal limit to operate a vehicle on New Jersey roads.
On June 11, Weiss pled guilty to an accusation of second degree vehicular homicide and third degree assault by auto, Soriano said. She also pled guilty to a related motor vehicle summons filed in the Warren Township Municipal Court which charged careless driving.
Soriano reported that Armstrong also sentenced the defendant on the motor vehicle charges., ordering the outstanding summons to merge into another summons for driving while intoxicated within 1,000 feet of school property, and imposed the statutory penalties of a $300 fine, as well as thirty days incarceration and a seven-month license suspension that also was merged with the time ordered in the vehicular homicide sentence.
After the sentencing, Weiss's bail was revoked and she was immediately taken into custody for later intended transportion to the Edna Mahon Correctional Facility for Women in Clinton Township, Hunterdon County. Weiss had one day jail credit to be applied against her sentence, the release said.
Weiss previously had been free on bail, with her license suspended, until her sentencing.
The state's case was represented by Assistant Somerset County Assistant Prosecutor Matthew Murphy, according to the release.