This morning 21-year-old Priscilla Natal was sentenced to five years in prison for her role in the death of a 18-year-old friend following a drunken driving accident in 2010, said Prosecutor Theodore J. Romankow.
Natal of Newark was driving her vehicle on the Garden State Parkway in Kenilworth around 2 a.m. on May 8, 2010, when she lost control and struck another vehicle while traveling northbound. Her friend, Hernan Sanchez Jr. of Union, was a back seat passenger in the car and was ejected from the vehicle and died as a result of his injuries, said Assistant Prosecutor Caroline Lawlor who prosecuted the case. Another passenger was also ejected and suffered severe injuries, requiring treatment at a local hospital for several months. Natal, and two others in the vehicle were uninjured.
The vehicle that Natal struck was driven by Jason Montanez, 21, of East Orange. He fled the scene following the accident and was arrested several weeks later following an investigation by Sgt. Sal Ingui and Det. Harold Ramirez of the New Jersey State Police, said Lawlor.
Montanez was charged with leaving the scene of a fatal accident and pled guilty late last year and was sentenced this morning to three years of probation and one year in the Union County Jail.
Natal pled guilty to vehicular homicide and driving while intoxicated. She must serve at least 85% of her sentence before being eligible for parole, said Lawlor.
At sentencing this morning, Union County Superior Court Judge Stuart Peim said these types of crimes can be avoided, and said he hoped the sentence would serve as a deterrent to others.