Woman indicted in deadly crash

A Monmouth County Grand Jury returned an indictment on Nov. 14 charging Bilgye Santamaria, 34, of Bayville, with vehicular homicide, a second degree crime, and three counts of endangering the welfare of a child, a third degree crime, Acting Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni announced.

The charges relate to a fatal motor vehicle accident that occurred on Jan. 13 in Howell. Eileen Figueroa, 26, of Freehold, was killed in the accident.

The charges are the result of a joint investigation conducted by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Bureau, the Howell Police Department, and the Monmouth County Serious Collision Analysis Response Team.

The investigation revealed that on Jan. 13 at about 10:43 p.m., Santamaria was driving a 2008 Chevrolet Trailblazer south on Route 9 at an extremely high rate of speed, more than 34 mph in excess of the posted speed limit.

As Santamaria approached the intersection of Route 9 and Strickland Road, she allegedly ran the red light and struck Figueroa’s vehicle. Figueroa was taken to Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Neptune, where she was pronounced dead the following morning, according to the prosecutor’s office.

Santamaria had three passengers in her vehicle at the time of the collision. All of the passengers were children between the ages of 6 and 10. Two of the children sustained non-life threatening injuries.

Santamaria was arrested on Nov. 20 and is being held at the Monmouth County jail, Freehold Township, in lieu of $100,000 bail set by state Superior Court Assignment Judge Lawrence M. Lawson.

The vehicular homicide charge, a second degree crime, carries a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison, subject to the No Early Release Act, which means that a convicted defendant must serve 85 percent of the sentence imposed before becoming eligible for parole. Endangering the welfare of a child, a third degree crime, carries a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison.