FREEHOLD-A Long Branch man was sentenced Friday to five years in New Jersey state prison for striking and killing a Monmouth University student in 2013 while driving under the influence of Xanax, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

Joseph Stovall, 48, must serve 85 percent of his sentence before becoming eligible for parole under the No Early Release Act (NERA).   Additionally, Stovall received a lifetime license suspension, prohibiting him from ever driving in New Jersey again, and will be under parole supervision for three years following his release from state prison.

On September 11, 2013 at approximately 7:45 p.m., Long Branch police responded to a report of a motor vehicle accident along Joline Avenue. Victoria Tropper, 21, of Marlboro and a student at Monmouth University, and Thomas Triano, 49, of Cherry Hill, were involved in a minor fender bender and pulled their vehicles into the shoulder of the roadway to inspect the damage and exchange information. The two were standing between their respective vehicles when a Dodge Ram pick-up truck driven by Stovall swerved into the shoulder, colliding with Tropper’s vehicle and pushing it into Triano, causing multiple lacerations, before striking and killing Tropper.

In June, Stovall pleaded guilty to second degree Vehicular Homicide in connection with the death of Ms. Tropper and fourth degree Assault by Auto for injuries suffered by Mr. Triano. During his plea, Stovall admitted he was driving under the influence of Xanax despite not having a valid prescription for the drug.

As part of his plea agreement with the State, prosecutors recommended Stovall receive a sentence of five years in a New Jersey state prison, subject to the provisions of the NERA requiring him to serve 85 percent of the sentence imposed before becoming eligible for release on parole.

Stovall was sentenced by the Honorable Richard W. English, J.S.C. The case was prosecuted by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutors Melanie Falco and Stephanie Dugan.

Stovall is represented by Charles Moriarty, Esq., of West Long Brach.