Spotswood man sentenced to 18 years in prison for suicide attempt that led to fatal East Brunswick crash
Published: Wednesday, April 13, 2011, 7:24 PM Updated: Thursday, April 14, 2011, 5:39 AM
By Tom Haydon/The Star-Ledger The Star-Ledger
EAST BRUNSWICK — Steven Osadacz had six drunken-driving arrests, had battled drug abuse and depression for 20 years, and had tried to kill himself four times.
After an argument with his girlfriend on Nov. 10, 2008, Osadacz sped down an East Brunswick road intent on crashing and killing himself. Instead he struck another car, killing the driver, Steven Fagbewesa, a 46-year-old father of three.
"I hope you die in prison and rot in hell," Fagbewesa’s sister, Catherine Fagbewesa, said to Osadacz before he was sentenced to 18 years in prison.
Osadacz had been charged with murder, but pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of aggravated manslaughter, said Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Nicholas Sewitch.
Osadacz, 46, expressed his sorrow to the victim’s family, blamed the crash on anti-depression medication he was given without sufficient instruction, and said he didn’t recall anything before or after the incident.
"I just ask for mercy," he said to Superior Court Judge Bradley Ferencz, who rejected the request.
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"To commit suicide on the public roads of the state of New Jersey. The court is shocked," said Ferencz. "You made a conscious choice," he told the defendant.
Prior to sentencing, the judge heard from Steve Fagbewesa’s 10-year-old son, Femi, who broke down sobbing, his head in his hands.
"He was a good father to me," said the child, dressed in a pressed, pinstripe shirt and suit pants.
Fagbewesa’s widow, Temitope, told Ferencz how her late husband came from Nigeria, put himself through school, and became a computer software specialist, all as the couple raised their children.
"He taught them to swim, to ride bicycles. The children always say to me, I wish my father was alive," she said.
Osadacz’ relatives described as a him as a "good man" who had worked all his life.
"He wasn’t trying to hurt anybody but himself," Osadacz’s sister, Deborah Behen, said. The weekend before the crash, Behen said, Osadacz sought admission to a mental health clinic, but was told no beds were available.
He went home that Monday morning and in the afternoon left a voicemail message to his girlfriend saying he would kill himself in a violent collision.
"I’ve got it set for 100 miles an hour for … whatever," the message said. "I’m dead. Later."
Authorities said he sped south on Old Stage Road, ran a stop sign at Helmetta Boulevard and plowed broadside into Fagbewesa’s car, which was stopped to turn left, with five cars lined up behind it.
"There were five cars behind Fagbewesa. That was relative shooting gallery for this man," Sewitch said of Osadacz. "This is about as outrageous as your behavior can be behind the wheel."
He added Osadacz had a blood-alcohol level of .24, three times the legal limit.
He recounted Osadacz’ criminal record, including a prison term for a weapons offense, and convictions for drunken-driving. "The court system did everything it could to stop this man. I’m sure somewhere along the line a judge said that one day he would kill somebody," Sewitch said.
Ferencz also revoked Osadacz’s driving license for life.
Related topics: east-brunswick, middlesex-county-prosecutor, old-bridge, spotswood