Howell Resident Faces Charges in Deadly Car Crash

Female Howell resident Samantha E. Bonora, aged 31, has been formally charged with a series of serious offenses in connection with a fatal three-vehicle collision that occurred in mid-January. Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago made the announcement on Friday, revealing that Bonora is facing one count of first-degree Aggravated Manslaughter and two counts of second-degree Aggravated Assault. Additionally, she has been charged with Driving Under the Influence, along with multiple motor vehicle summonses.

The incident took place on Saturday, January 13, 2024, at approximately 4:41 p.m., when the Howell Police Department was alerted to a multiple-car crash on Highway 34 near the Colts Neck border. Through subsequent investigation, it was determined that Bonora was driving a Dodge Ram pickup truck southbound on Highway 34 in Howell when she veered into the northbound lane, colliding head-on with an oncoming Jeep Grand Cherokee. The force of the collision caused Bonora’s vehicle to come to a stop in the northbound lane, where it was then struck from behind by a Ford Bronco.

Tragically, a 3-year-old girl who was a passenger in the Jeep Cherokee lost her life at the scene. The driver of the Jeep and another child passenger, a 2-year-old boy, sustained severe injuries and required hospitalization. Bonora, as well as the female passenger in 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. As a result, she was arrested without incident and is currently being held at the Monmouth County Correctional Institute (MCCI) pending her first appearance at the Monmouth County Superior Court.

Anyone who possesses information relevant to this case is strongly 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. The assigned prosecutor for this case is Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Caitlin J. Sidley of the Major Crimes Bureau. Information regarding Bonora’s legal representation was not immediately available.

It should be noted that despite the charges brought against her, Bonora is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a trial where she is afforded all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.

In an unrelated matter, the article features an image of a police line at a crime scene.

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