CLIFFVIEW PILOT EXCLUSIVE: The sister of an 80-year-old great grandmother killed by a hit-and-run driver high on drugs said the four-year sentence he got today wasn’t enough punishment. But she took some consolation from the outcome.
Dorothy “Dot” Scordato (COURTESY: Family); Crash photo property CLIFFVIEWPILOT.COM
Eleanor English was still a bit shaken tonight after the sentencing in Hackensack, where Rocco James Benedetto’s wife shouted at her family: “Do you want more?”
“I wanted to say: ‘Yes, to see him in a coffin the way I saw my sister.’ But I did not respond,” she told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .
“At last it is over, and he will remember the cowardly act over and over again,” English said.
“We are not happy, but we are glad that he is finally off the streets.”
Benedetto will have to spend at least three and a half years in custody after pleading guilty to vehicular homicide in the death of Dorothy Scordato on Route 17 on June 11, 2010.
“Dot” Scordato was on her way to pick up her autistic 55-year-old son for the weekend when her SUV was rammed on Route 17 by a sedan driven by the father of two. She died a short time later at The Valley Hospital in Ridgewood.
Scordato’s son “lives in a home, but she’d pick him up every Friday,” her daughter, Charisse Rulli, told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .
He still doesn’t understand why his mother is gone, she said.
Moments earler, Benedetto’s car hit a Mercedes in Ramsey. But he kept going south on Route 17 before the vehicle slammed into Scordato’s in Ridgewood, flinging it into another car. ( SEE: Driver who killed 80-year-old Bergen woman was fleeing another crash )
Still, Benedetto kept driving, first ditching a small bag of Xanax, Oxycontin and Methandrostenolome (an anabolic steroid) at an area service station a half-mile down the highway before calling police, prosecutors said.
Benedetto, of Mahwah, already had something of a history: When he was 18, he was arrested in Pennsylvania on charges of making terroristic threats, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, public drunkenness and harassment after he allegedly spit on and threatened to kill a judge.
He made bail, and a short time later, prosecutors mysteriously withdrew the entire case.
Scordato’s family made sure no raps were beaten this time. They kept up with all of Benedetto’s court dates, wrote letters to the judge and were at his sentencing in force today.
“My sister Dot was a very caring person and had a heart as big as a mountain,” Eleanor English said. “This is so very hard on all of us.”
Charisse Rulli had her own words for Benedetto as Bergen County Sheriff’s officers removed him out of the courtroom.
“You left her all alone to die,” she said. “Today, you will be taken away in handcuffs to jail, where you belong.”
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