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Pedestrian killed crossing GSP was disabled beating victim

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

CLIFFVIEW PILOT HAS IT FIRST: A woman struck and killed while crossing the Garden State Parkway spent a month in the hospital and underwent extensive physical therapy to walk again after her boyfriend beat her six years ago.

INSET: Cristalla Vaccarella

Cristalla Vaccarella, 26, of Manchester in Ocean County, was pronounced dead at the scene around 6:40 p.m.

Several vehicles that struck the former Montclair woman kept going, but the driver whose car was the first to hit her as she dashed across the northbound lanes remained there and spoke with troopers, New Jersey State Police
Sgt. Brian Polite told CLIFFVIEW PILOT this morning.

The driver of a black 1997 Toyota Camry, a Spring Valley man, said he did his best to try and avoid her but was unable to, the sergeant said.

Vaccarella, who walked with a limp, crossed just south of the Montvale service area on foot when she was struck near milepost 172 northbound around 6:20 p.m., Polite told CLIFFVIEW PILOT Thursday night.

Troopers closed all three northbound lanes as quickly as possible, diverting traffic off Exit 172. Those lanes were later reopened.

Another law enforcement source with direct knowledge of the incident told CLIFFVIEW PILOT that the woman was decapitated, creating a gruesome scene for the Bergen County Medical Examiner’s Office.

The darkness made assembling some of the evidence challenging, the source said .

Polite said more details would become available as the NJSP Fatal Accident Unit and Crime Scene Investigation team completes its work.

Detectives worked on the case deep into the night and were able to notify next of kin, Polite said.

Vaccarella was attacked and beaten on May 31, 2005 while she was with her then boyfriend at the King’s Inn Hotel on Route 46 in Wayne.

She said he shouted “I’m going to kill you and you will die tonight,” after she accidentally blew cocaine he was cutting off a table.

Vaccarella later testified about the beating and the eight months of therapy it took to regain the use of her legs.

Her assailant, Gregory Zkyers, was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to aggravated assault.






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