Prosecutor: Area 31-Year-Old Woman Facing Aggravated Manslaughter, Assault Charges in Fatal January Accident

A 31-year-old area woman is facing manslaughter and aggravated assault charges in connection with a fatal January three-vehicle crash that claimed the life of a 3-year-old girl and injured others, Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago announced on Friday.

Samantha E. Bonora, of Howell, has been charged with one count of first-degree aggravated manslaughter and two counts of second-degree aggravated assault stemming from the crash. Bonora was also charged with driving under the influence (DUI) and related motor vehicle summonses.

The case background …

On Saturday Jan. 13, at 4:41 p.m., Howell police were notified of a multiple-car collision on Route 34 near the Colts Neck border. An investigation revealed that Bonora was operating a Dodge Ram pickup truck southbound on Route 34 in Howell when she swerved into the northbound lane into oncoming traffic. Driving south in the northbound lane, Bonora’s vehicle collided head-on with an oncoming Jeep Grand Cherokee. The collision caused Bonora’s vehicle to ultimately come to a stop in the northbound lane, where it was then struck by a Ford Bronco via a rear-end collision.

One of the passengers in the Cherokee, a 3-year-old girl, was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the Jeep Cherokee and the other child passenger, a 2-year-old boy, sustained serious injuries and were hospitalized. Bonora, as well as the female passenger of the Jeep and the female driver of the Ford Bronco, sustained minor injuries.

Further investigation revealed that Bonora was under the influence of multiple narcotic substances at the time of the collision.

Bonora was arrested and transported to the Monmouth County Correctional Institute (MCCI), where she is currently being held pending her initial appearance at the Monmouth County Superior Court on Wednesday, Feb. 7.

Anyone with information about the incident is urged to contact Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Agent Reginald Grant at 800-533-7443 or Howell Township Police Officer Daniel Scherbinski at 732-928-4575, Ext. 2663.

— Edited press release from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office