Epileptic Charged with Manslaughter ‘Blacked Out’


Vincent Zanfardino, an epileptic on trial for killing a 25-year-old motorist in a fatal car crash on Interstate 95 in the Bronx said he “blacked out,” according to a key witness on Tuesday.

“I didn’t even know I hit somebody until someone told me,” the witness, Highway Patrol Officer George Lang, quoted the defendant telling him on the night Zanfardino crashed into Brynn Rohlf’s Acura Legend. Zanfardino allegedly made the statement in an interview at Jacobi Hospital on the night of the crash more than two years ago.

Prosecutor Gary Weil, tried to depict Zanfardino as completely coherent and aware at the time, and not the heavily medicated, helpless victim that the defense was trying to paint. The defendant is charged with manslaughter on the theory that he should not have been driving.

“Detective Lang, wouldn’t you say the defendant seemed alert?” asked Weill. “Wouldn’t you say he was apparently normal and not in any apparent pain.”

“Yes. Yes,” Lang answered with a smirk.

Meanwhile, the defense lawyer, Victor M. Brown attempted to discredit Lang’s incident report and account of accident.

As Brown produced Lang’s accident report he asked the officer, “Isn’t the purpose of an accident report to find out what caused the accident?

“Yes,” Lang answered.

“Detective when you interviewed Mr. Zafardino at the hospital, were you aware that he was on Tegretol (an anti-convulsant drug)?”  Brown asked.

“No,” Lang answered.

“And were you aware that Ms. Rohlf was on any prescription drugs or alcohol that night?”

“No,” Lang answered.

“Well did you ask her when you interviewed her at the hospital that night?”

“No,” Lang answered.

On the night of July 11, 2012, Zanfardino, a Bronx resident, was returning from a wake in Queens with a friend. As he entered I-95-northbound  he went into an epileptic seizure and collapsed behind the wheel. his Lincoln Town Car sped up to 93 mph.

Brynn Rohlf was driving on the thruway with her fiancé Dylan Gardineer and friend Alfred Reitano, when Zanfardino crashed into the rear of her Acura Legend. Rohlf and her fiancé were seriously injured and Reitano died the next day from head injuries.

Prosecutors told the jury that on the night of the accident, the three victims were coming from buying heroin. Reitano’s mother, who was present at court, previously told reporters Reitano was a recovering addict. He had been laid off from his warehouse job, and was struggling to support his fiancé and daughter

“Life will never be the same without him,” Reitano’s mother told reporters.



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