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Woman's False Alarm Led to State Trooper's Death

Woman's False Alarm Led to State Trooper's Death

The front row of the courtroom is lined with uniformed New Jersey State Police Troopers during the initial appearance of Diana Hoffman, a 30-year-old mother of four from Blackwood who is charged in connection with the death of Trooper Marc K. Castellano.

The Star-Leger via YellowBrix

June 08, 2010

HOWELL, NJ — As eight state troopers created a wall of blue in a Freehold courtroom gallery, Diana Hoffman was presented a list of offenses that authorities allege led to Sunday’s death of New Jersey State Trooper Marc K. Castellano.

Explaining the charge of false public alarm brought by his office, Executive Assistant Monmouth County Prosecutor Richard Incremona told Superior Court Judge Thomas Scully Monday that Hoffman indirectly caused Castellano’s death by causing authorities to search for a phantom companion.

‘‘That is a first-degree offense that holds the defendant strictly liable for the actions that led to the unfortunate untimely death of Trooper Marc Castellano by setting in motion a chain of events that led to his death even though she did not commit the offense herself,’’ Incremona said.

Castellano, a 29-year-old father of two, was hit by a 2010 Volkswagen Jetta driven by Robert R. Swan, 20, of Jackson, as the trooper was on the shoulder of Route 195 west near exit 31B, said Monmouth County Prosecutor Luis Valentin.

Castellano and other officers and troopers were searching for an armed man Hoffman, 30, claimed had been in her Ford Fusion that was stopped on the side of Route 195.

‘‘The initial information provided by Diana Hoffman about the presence of a second individual was deliberately false,’’ said First Assistant Monmouth County Prosecutor Peter Warshaw Jr.

Dressed in a maroon jail-issued jump suit and standing with her hands shackled to her waist, Hoffman, of Blackwood, yawned four times during the 10 minute proceeding.

A single mother of four who told authorities she last worked for a gutter company in Berlin, Hoffman also is charged with eluding, hindering apprehension, resisting arrest and possession of heroin and cocaine.

Nj-state-police-trooper-marc-castellano-horizjpg-ef7ab22a1a24fa33_medium_max200w

New Jersey State Police Trooper Marc K. Castellano was killed Sunday after being struck by a car during a police search in Howell.

Warshaw and Valentin Monday outlined the chain of events leading up to the 10 a.m. crash, beginning some two hours earlier when Hoffman’s car was spotted by a state trooper pulled onto the shoulder of the northbound lanes of the Garden State Parkway near mile marker 90 in Ocean County.

Valentin said Hoffman drove off when the trooper pulled up behind her to check whether she needed assistance.

‘‘She left the location and began to flee the area, achieving high rates of speed at excess of the posted speed limit,’’ Valentin said.

He said the trooper ended the pursuit for safety reasons after she got off the parkway at Exit 98 in Wall Township.

About 75 minutes later, other law enforcement agencies in the area found Hoffman near her car pulled off the side of the road on Route 195 West near exit 31B, Warshaw said. She allegedly told police officers she was with an armed man, prompting a massive search for a person who police later learned was non-existent.

Castellano was on the shoulder of the road in that area when he was struck by Swan’s vehicle. State Police have said Swan stopped after the collision. The investigation into the cause of the crash is still under investigation and no summonses have been issued so far, Valentin said.

Incremona said Hoffman has had ‘‘multiple contacts’’ with the court system and three times failed to appear for proceedings in Superior Court.

With her past criminal history — which court records show at least six theft charges and two drug offenses from Camden and Gloucester counties — Hoffman would be eligible for extended prison sentences, which could subject her to life in prison if convicted of the false public alarm charge, the most serious offense.

Hoffman is being held in the Monmouth County jail on $1.2 million bail.

Her attorney, Assistant Deputy Public Defender Van Lane, said his office will evaluate the case and determine what motions will be filed.


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  • Car6_max50

    Ahi

    about 4 years ago

    1990 Comments

    R.I.P., prayers to family and friends. I'm shocked at the woman's behavior and actions.

  • Txbadge_max50

    CenTexCop

    about 4 years ago

    50 Comments

    @ aussie4: Is there a dad? Yeah, there's four of them, but not only is she not married to any of them she doesn't know the names of two. But hey, she gets food stamps and housing assistance for the kids, so she keeps them around as long as they don't get in the way of her partying too hard. She's probably done a good job of training them to be afraid of the police and scornful of the law, though.....

  • Lpd_patch_max50

    LakewoodSgt19

    about 4 years ago

    192 Comments

    Once again, the Thin Blue Line has grown yet thinner. RIP my brother. My prayers are with your family.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    ladybandit

    about 4 years ago

    10 Comments

    SHE HAS NO RESPECT FOR THE LAW NOT EVEN HERSELF SHE NEED TO BE LOCK UP AND THE KEY THROW AWAY FOR WHAT SHE'S DONE. CASTELLANO FAMILY AND NJ STATE POLICE HAS SUFFER A GREAT LOST. "REST IN PEACE"

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    miken60

    about 4 years ago

    4 Comments

    Him - RIP
    her - throw in cell, slam door, lose key

  • Fallenherobadge-3-1_max50_max50

    aussie4

    about 4 years ago

    5328 Comments

    Yawning several times, in court, with the blue brothers standing tall? Mother of 4 with that type of record? Is there a dad and if so where is he? Sadly in the end, no matter how we feel or vent, a good man, husband, son and father is now gone. God Bless Leo Castellano and his family.

  • Evgeni_nabokov_max50

    skascooter007

    about 4 years ago

    2010 Comments

    RIP

    Stupid (female dog), how dare she yawn like she does not care. Nothing good awaits her.

  • Meangreen01_max50

    AZmeangreen

    about 4 years ago

    2338 Comments

    RIP brother.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    leniece

    about 4 years ago

    42 Comments

    R.I.P TROOPER CASTELLANO MAY GOD BE WIT YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS. HEAVEN IS WAITIN 4 U NOW

  • Policelinkbadge_max160_max50_max50

    Gombino

    about 4 years ago

    2658 Comments

    RIP, Brother. Hey Hoffman, hell is waiting.

  • 1126071119_max50

    Hoffa_45

    about 4 years ago

    2108 Comments

    A true professional SHEEPDOG! RIP Brother....

  • Photo_user_banned_big

    nrp5hgwedf

    about 4 years ago

    0 Comments

    The New Jersey State Troopers are elite and as a vacationer who travels to New Jersey I admire them for their professionalism. The lost suffered is another reason that justice be served to Hoffman. This woman has been a problem for a long period of time and we only hope she gets the maximum sentence. A Trooper has left us too soon because his dedication to assist someone who was in trouble that turned into a scam costing him his life! Our hearts are heavy this day. Thank you Brother for your service and our prayers go out to you and your loved ones!

  • Angel_kincaid_park_2014_max50

    AKangel

    about 4 years ago

    4972 Comments

    Bump copper380

  • 1984_v_max600_max50

    MeanStreets949

    about 4 years ago

    2318 Comments

    She yawned four times during the proceedings. I guess she'll fall asleep during the trial..................

  • Images_max50

    OFFICER_K_CPD

    about 4 years ago

    2296 Comments

    RIP

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