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Great-grandmother killed by drunk driver would have had a birthday today

Photo Credit: supplied by family; Crash photo property CLIFFVIEWPILOT.COM

Dot Scordato would have turned 81 today, had the Allendale great-grandmother not been killed by a drunk driver fleeing another crash. This afternoon, her daughter went to the cemetery to pick out a flat stone to put over her grave. “Unfortunately, that’s going to be her birthday present,” Charisse Rulli told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .


“Dot” Scordato photo supplied by family; Crash photo property CLIFFVIEWPILOT.COM

Then Rulli’s getting Chinese food — her mom’s favorite — and spending the day with her grandkids.

Dorothy E. Scordato was on her way to pick up Rulli’s 55-year-old brother for the weekend when her SUV was rammed on Route 17 by a sedan driven by Rocco James Benedetto on June 11. She died a short time later at The Valley Hospital in Ridgewood.

Scordato‘s mentally handicapped son “lives in a home, but she’d pick him up every Friday,” Rulli said. “He’s missing her. She was a very big part of his life.”

Scordato planned on getting a birthday cake, with candles, today, as well. Her wish is that Benedetto gets his due.

A source close to the investigation told CLIFFVIEW PILOT a grand jury likely will be impaneled in Hackensack in September.

The day Scordato died, Benedetto’s sedan had hit a Mercedes in Ramsey, authorities said. 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 )

An assistant Bergen County prosecutor told a judge that Benedetto kept going, 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.

In addition to vehicular homicide, Benedetto, 36, of Mahwah, is charged with leaving the scene of the crash, among other counts.

When he was 18, Benedetto was arrested in Pennsylvania on charges of making terroristic threats, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, public drunkenness and harassment.

He spit on and threatened to kill a judge, authorities there confirmed. But Benedetto made bail, and a short time later, prosecutors mysteriously withdrew the entire case.

Dorothy Scordato’s family is making sure no raps are beaten this time.

“My sister Dot was a very caring person and had a heart as big as a mountain,” Eleanor English told CLIFFVIEW PILOT . “This is so very hard on all of us, and it is not over yet.”

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