Questions still unanswered in June state trooper death

Staff Writer

HOWELL — More than two months after New Jersey State Police Trooper Marc K. Castellano was struck down by a motor vehicle on Interstate 195 during a police search, authorities are still not ready to release the details of the accident that took his life.Police have charged Robert Swan, 20, of Jackson, the driver of the car that hit Castellano, with speeding and careless driving. The motor vehicle charges were expected to be sent to Howell municipal court for adjudication. The incident on Interstate 195 occurred in Howell.

However, the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office has not yet released the two motor vehicle summonses to the municipal court for disposition, First Assistant Prosecutor Peter E. Warshaw Jr. said.

“Everything we have to do is not finished yet,” Warshaw said. “The investigation is ongoing.”

Swan’s Volkswagen Jetta was traveling at 75 mph in a 65 mph zone on Interstate 195 west when the accident occurred at about 10 a.m. June 6, authorities have said.

Castellano, 29, of Howell, was assisting in a massive police search for the occupants of an abandoned 2010 Ford Fusion when he was struck near Exit 31 in Howell. He died several hours later at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Neptune. Authorities said the cause of death was blunt force trauma.

But just where the state trooper was standing when he was struck and the exact location of Swan’s vehicle has still not been released.

“I don’t want to speculate,” Warshaw said. “I don’t have the answer to that right now.”

Police arrested Diana Hoffman, 30, of Blackwood, in connection with the abandoned car that precipitated the police search along the interstate highway. Hoffman told police that an armed man was riding in the car with her and had fled into the woods near the highway exit. Authorities later determined that Hoffman had fabricated the story about the man.

Hoffman was subsequently charged with creating a false public alarm that led to Castellano’s death, second-degree eluding police, third-degree hindering arrest by physical force against a police officer, thirddegree possession of a controlled dangerous substance believed to be heroin, and thirddegree possession of a controlled dangerous substance believed to be cocaine, Warshaw has said.

Castellano was a member of the New Jersey State Police Troop C Tactical Patrol Unit. He was a 1998 graduate of Jackson Memorial High School in Jackson, where he was co-captain of the Jaguars football team. He is survived by his wife, Stephanie, and their two young children.

The State Troopers Fraternal Association has set up a fund for Castellano’s children through TD Bank. Checks may be made out to TPR Castellano Children’s Fund, c/o STFA and mailed to 2634 Route 70, Manasquan, NJ. 08736.