By Linda Cicoira
An inmate serving time in prison for involuntary manslaughter in the case of two young sisters who died in a traffic crash near Treherneville in January 2022, was granted bond Monday in Northampton Circuit Court pending the outcome of his appeal.
Retired Judge A. Joseph Canada Jr. granted a $25,000 bond to 23-year-old Joseph Michael Castiglia, formerly of Onancock. The defendant was being held in Nottoway Correctional Center in Burkeville, Virginia. Castiglia’s lawyer, James Broccoletti, filed the appeal in July. Commonwealth’s Attorney Jack Thornton was opposed to the bond.
Court documents state provisions of the bond include Castiglia being assigned electronic monitoring, being on good behavior, seeking or maintaining employment, residing with his father, and not possessing a firearm. He is also not permitted to go beyond the states of Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and Pennsylvania.
Broccoletti previously said there was no evidence that Castiglia fell asleep, that he was drinking or using drugs, or that the crash was anything other than an accident.
Thornton argued that to overturn the jury’s decision would mean that 12 people came to an irrational decision. He contended when all the pieces of the case are combined, they are more than rational. The defendant never used the brake, said he hated school buses, and was likely speeding for conditions based on the force of impact, said Thornton. “He knew he was too fatigued to drive,” the prosecutor added.
The victims, Dajeryliz Ortiz Lebron and Naydaanaliz Ortiz Vasquez, 12 and 15 years old, were riding in the backseat of a car stopped for a county school bus picking up other children on Lankford Highway.
According to evidence, one of the sisters died when Castiglia’s 2006 Ford F-250 pickup struck the back of a 2007 Toyota Yaris, driven by the girls’ mother, Nayda Vazquez Negron. The other girl died later. The mother and another sister survived the crash.
Castiglia was sentenced to five years each for the two counts of involuntary manslaughter and 12 months for reckless driving. All but a year and 11 months were suspended. His driver’s license was revoked indefinitely.