Epileptic Car Crash Defendant Acquitted


A Bronx jury on Tuesday acquitted an epileptic man who was accused of manslaughter after blacking out on I-95 two years ago, causing the death of another motorist.

Vincent Zanfardino, a Con Edison employee, showed little emotion as the jury foreman said “not guilty” repeatedly to several charges but his vindication evoked loud sobbing by his wife who was in the courtroom

The most severe charge was second-degree manslaughter, which would have carried a maximum of 15 years.

“It was the right verdict,” said Vincent M. Brown, Zanfardino’s lawyer.

“He should’ve never been charged because he was on his medication.

Brown’s argument was the theme of his defense. In court, Brown countered the prosecution, by arguing his client was prescribed anti-seizure medication and trusted that it was working. Brown also accused the doctor who prescribed his client Tegretol, an anti-seizure medication, of lying to the jury and not knowing the state law for epileptic drivers.

In July 2012, Zanfardino, 53, was driving from a wake in Queens with a co-worker. According to the prosecutor, Gary Weil, when Zanfardino tried to enter the New England Thruway near exit 8C, he went into an epileptic seizure and blacked out behind the wheel. Weil also said after Zafardino blacked out, his Lincoln town car sped up to 93 miles per hour and crashed into the rear of a black Acura.

Alfred Reitano, a warehouse manager in Port Chester was in the back seat of the Acura when Zafardino hit it. Reitano, 25, who was engaged and had one daughter, suffered serious head injuries and later died.

Patricia Reitano, the victim’s mother sat stunned as the she listened to the five not-guilty verdicts.

“No words,” Reitano said, while leaving the courtroom crying. “There are no words to describe the way I feel. I can’t believe they didn’t find him guilty on anything.”

Brown said that Reitano has filed a civil lawsuit against the driver of the car her son was riding in, and against Zafardino.

“He’s thrilled, but he feels horrible,” said Brown of Zanfardino.


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