Driver Found Guilty in Texting Case Connected to Hazlet Pedestrian’s Death

Laurel and Sixth Street. The victim had exited the Henry Hudson walking trail and was crossing Laurel when she was struck.

 A Keansburg woman has been convicted of second degree vehicular homicide in connection to the 2016 death of a Hazlet resident, Yuwen Wang, according to the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.

The trial has attracted interest because it is believed to be one of the first trials in the state to rely solely on cellphone use to establish recklessness in a vehicular homicide case.

For detailed coverage of the trial, read court reporter Kathleen Hopkins’ articles in the Asbury Park Press.

Alexandra Mansonet, 50, faces five to ten years in state prison after a Monmouth County jury found her guilty of second degree vehicular homicide following a three-week trial before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge David F. Bauman.

Mansonet was texting while driving at the time of the fatal crash on Sept. 28, 2016 when she rear ended a Corolla which then fatally struck Wang, who was using the crosswalk Laurel Avenue, according to the prosecutor. Mansonet said she adjusting her defroster.

“This is a tragedy in every respect. Texting while driving puts drivers and pedestrians in grave danger and we are hopeful that the jury’s verdict will reinforce the public’s awareness of this risk,” said Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni. “Even taking your eyes off the road for mere seconds is not worth the risk of the serious bodily injury or death that can result from texting while driving,”

The incident occurred around 8:20 a.m. on Sept. 28, 2016 at Laurel Avenue in Hazlet. The initial collision involved a 2000 Mercedes Benz, operated by Mansonet and a 2011 Toyota Corolla, operated by Robert Matich of Keansburg. Matich’s son was a passenger in the vehicle.

Matich’s vehicle was proceeding south on Laurel Avenue approaching the intersection with Sixth Street when he observed pedestrians looking to cross Laurel Avenue at the marked crosswalk. In order to yield to the pedestrian in a crosswalk, Matich slowed his vehicle a significant distance prior to the intersection to allow the pedestrians to cross. As Matich brought his vehicle to a controlled stop, Mansonet’s vehicle collided with the rear of his vehicle, which was propelled forward, striking the victim.

Wang was transported by helicopter to Robert Wood Johnson University Medical Center’s Trauma Unit in New Brunswick, where she died on Oct. 3, 2016.

An investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, Monmouth County Serious Collision Analysis Response Team (SCART) and Hazlet Township Police Department determined Mansonet was using her cellular telephone while driving and made no observations of Matich’s vehicle, according to Grammiccioni. Also, the prosecutor said, Mansonet never activated her brakes and collided with the vehicle, causing it to cast forward and strike the victim.

The case was prosecuted by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Christopher J. Decker, Director of the Office’s Major Crimes Bureau. Mansonet was represented by Steven D. Altman, Esq., of New Brunswick.

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