Connecticut man sentenced to four years for Westfield vehicular homicide

The Connecticut man responsible for an alcohol-related crash that killed one person and seriously injured another in Westfield in 2011 has been sentenced to four years in state prison, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park and Westfield Police Chief David Wayman jointly announced Friday.

Robert McGowan, 30, of Trumbull, Connecticut must serve at least 85 percent of that term before becoming eligible for parole under the terms set down Friday morning by state Superior Court Judge Scott J. Moynihan.

Shortly after 1 a.m. on October 1, 2011, McGowan was driving his 2009 Honda Accord on Clifton Street in Westfield, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Caroline Lawlor, who prosecuted the case.

McGowan was speeding, driving approximately 45 mph in a 25-mph zone, when he ran a stop sign at the intersection of Tice Place, striking a 2001 Cadillac Eldorado being driven by 69-year-old Peter Tyliczka, Lawlor said.

Tyliczka was thrown from his car and killed. A passenger in the vehicle, Tyliczka’s then-61-year-old girlfriend, was seriously injured and transported to a local hospital, where she spent months undergoing treatment and therapy.

An investigation involving the Westfield Police Department and Lt. Jason McErlean, the Union County Police Department Fatal Accident Reconstruction Team, and the Prosecutor’s Office’s Homicide Task Force determined that McGowan’s blood-alcohol level at the time of the crash was over the legal limit in New Jersey.

Two of Tyliczka’s daughters read statements prior to sentencing Friday, and McGowan addressed the victims’ families to apologize for his actions. But Moynihan rejected McGowan’s attorney’s suggestion of probation as a suitable sentence.

“Probation is not a viable option here,” he said. “You (McGowan) will be able to live your life (after leaving prison), and I hope you’ll make recompense for the lives you ruined.”