LITTLE EGG HARBOR – A driver had drugs and alcohol in his system when he was going 80 miles an hour before a crash that killed a girl, police said.
Michael Pillarella, 28, of Manahawkin, was found guilty of Manslaughter and Assault by Auto, Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer said.
Pillarella was driving a Hyundai Elantra north on Radio Road when his car veered into the oncoming lane and struck a Toyota XB on January 30, 2021. The driver, a girl younger than 18, and another girl in her car were both seriously injured. The passenger succumbed to injuries on February 9, 2021.
Blood drawn from Pillarella showed alprazolam, methadone, fentanyl, and alcohol, police said. Crash investigators approximate that he was driving at about 80 mph.
Pillarella has been in jail since his arrest. He faces up to 15 years in New Jersey State Prison during his sentencing on May 5.
Prosecutor Billhimer thanked the diligence and dedication of Supervising Assistant Prosecutor Robert Cassidy and Assistant Prosecutor Alyssa Mandara, who tried the case on behalf of the State. The Prosecutor likewise extended his gratitude to the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Vehicular Homicide Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crimes Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Victim Witness Advocacy Unit, Little Egg Harbor Township Police Department, Berkeley Township Police Department, New Jersey State Police, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, and Ocean County Medical Examiner’s Office, for their combined and collective efforts investigating this tragedy.