Victims board intervenes in DWI case

Probe asked of prosecutor's dealings with parents of siblings who died in Parkway crash

Thursday, March 10, 2005

BY PAULA SAHA
Star-Ledger Staff

The state Victims of Crime Compensation Board has asked the state attorney general to investigate whether the Union County Prosecutor's Office has properly dealt with a Florham Park couple whose children were killed in an alleged drunken driving accident nearly two years ago.

Deborah and Bill Streiter are upset with how prosecutors have treated them since their two children, Billy and Ashley, were killed when their car was hit on the Garden State Parkway in April 2003. Eric Bullock of Newark was arrested and his trial is scheduled for May 16.

The Streiters say they have not been notified of developments and were discouraged from meeting with the most recent prosecutor assigned to the case.

"I think, under the circumstances, given the loss that we suffered, that there could have been more of a sense of urgency or sense of commitment or follow-through on their end," Bill Streiter said. "To me, it seems like business as usual."

James Porfido, the Streiters' attorney, said he and the compensation board were asking the attorney general "whether or not (the Streiters) have been treated ... with dignity, compassion and respect, which is what the constitutional amendment for victims' rights requires."

Richard Pompelio, chairman of the compensation board, said he is waiting for a response from the attorney general's office. "I think if someone comes to us and indicates that the family has not been treated appropriately, we're a victims' rights agency and I think we have an obligation to do something."

Assistant Union County Prosecutor Jim Donnelly said he was assigned the case only a few days ago and could not comment on it in any detail.

Assistant Prosecutor William Kolano, who had the case before Donnelly, would speak only on the status of the case. He said motions scheduled for today were rescheduled after the judge decided he had a potential conflict of interest.

"We have had one trial date in this case, which was May 16. That has not changed to my knowledge. As far as I am aware, that will be the date that the case gets tried," he said.

The family did meet with Kolano about a year ago, Bill Streiter said, but "I just don't think it's the level of communication or quality of communication that it should be handled."

Streiter said he felt he had to pressure authorities to get another meeting with the new prosecutor. "It's a pretty emotional thing for me, and I think they could maybe deal with me better than they usually do."

Ashley Streiter, 20, and her brother, Billy, 23, were headed north on the Parkway in Cranford when Ashley's car became disabled in the median lane, according to police reports. Their car was then hit by another car driven by Bullock, killing them both. A friend in the back seat of Ashley's car survived.

Bullock was indicted on charges of vehicular homicide and aggravated manslaughter. At the time, authorities said his blood-alcohol level was 0.128 percent.

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