A Pennsylvania truck driver has been sentenced to an eight-year prison term for causing a motor vehicle crash in April that killed a Monmouth County man and injured the victim’s wife and daughter on Route 18 near Ferry Road in Old Bridge.
According to the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, Brad L. Phillips, 27, of Gap, Pa., was sentenced on Monday in New Brunswick by Superior Court Judge Bradley Ferencz, who said the defendant must serve 85 percent of the prison term before he can be eligible for parole.
Phillips was sentenced after he pleaded guilty in September to aggravated manslaughter and two counts of assault by auto under a plea agreement reached with Middlesex County Deputy First Assistant
Prosecutor Christopher L. C. Kuberiet. Phillips was charged after an investigation by Officer John Bulin of the Old Bridge Police Department and Investigator Gregory Morris of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office showed that Phillips was sleep-deprived and had been driving under the influence of methamphetamines when his tractor-trailer crashed into the sport utility vehicle.
The investigation further showed that Phillips, who was heading north on Route 18, ran a red light at the Ferry Road intersection at 7:27 a.m. April 25, and struck the 2001 GMC Yukon that was being driven by Herminio Balagtas, 58, of Manalapan.
In addition, the judge sentenced Phillips to two five-year terms, to run concurrently with the eight-year term, for injuring the two passengers who were riding with Balagtas.
Balagtas’ wife, Leonora Balagtas, 53, and their 11-year-old daughter were injured in the crash. The family was taken to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, where Balagtas was pronounced dead shortly after the crash. His wife and daughter were treated for their injuries and were released after a substantial period of time.
—Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office.