Bar That Served Fatal TCNJ Crash Driver Hit With New Rules

FREEHOLD -- A Camden County man who drove drunk after getting into a fight at a Belmar bar was sentenced to 10 years in prison for killing a passenger in his car in a crash that night.

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Edwin Martinez, 24, of Camden, will have to serve more than eight years of his prison term before becoming eligible for parole under the terms imposed Friday by Superior Court Judge Joseph Oxley, said Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni.

Martinez had a blood-alcohol level of more than twice the legal limit when he sped off from Connolly Station in Belmar after the restaurant closed at 2 a.m. on April 20, 2014, with Tiffany Soto, 26, of Howell, in the car, authorities said at the time.

Investigators said Martinez got into a dispute with bar patrons and smashed the windshield of a car.

Gramiccioni said Soto went to the restaurant to pick up Martinez. Instead of getting into the passenger's seat of the 2000 Honda Civic and letting Soto drive, Martinez got behind the wheel and sped off, the prosecutor said.

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Camden man charged in deadly Belmar wreck on Easter Sunday

A 22-year-old Camden man was driving drunk when he crashed into another vehicle and caused the death of his passenger on Easter Sunday, authorities said.

Martinez went down Eighth Avenue toward Route 35, ran a red light, and then hit a car with two people inside, authorities said at the time.

The Honda hit a curb, overturned, struck a pole and became airborne, before it landed in the parking lot of the Belmar Marina where it hit  a pickup truck and finally stopped at a fence near the water, authorities have said.

Soto was thrown from the car during the crash and landed in the Shark River, authorities said. She was rushed to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune where she later died.

A blood sample taken from Martinez after the crash revealed his blood alcohol concentration was 0.207, more than two-and-a-half times the legal limit in New Jersey, Gramiccioni said.

Martinez pleaded guilty in March to vehicular homicide, assault by auto and a motor vehicle summons charging him with driving while intoxicated.  As part of his sentence, he lost his driver's license for five years, Gramiccioni said.

MaryAnn Spoto may be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @MaryAnnSpoto. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

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