55 days after the hit-and-run accident which left her family and friends begging for answers, Anna Semioli, a Montclair State University student, is still in a coma at St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Paterson and, although the driver who struck her turned himself in, several pieces of the puzzle remain unsolved.
Anna Semioli had been walking near the Valley Road exit on Route 46 a little after midnight on Friday, Oct. 9, when she was struck by a vehicle and left on the side of the road. With the details of the accident revealed after the driver came forward and claimed responsibility on Oct. 15, the events leading up to the accident still remain a mystery. Regardless of the family’s incessant pleas for information, no one has come forward about what happened before the accident. Early on, friends of Semioli suspected “foul play,” but no evidence has been discovered to support this assertion.
“We want to know why her car was outside Fenwick Hall and she was [walking] a mile up the road,” said Gina Semioli, sister of the victim.
The family recently hung updated posters around campus, requesting information about who was with Anna Semioli the night of the accident and why she was walking along the highway alone while her car was parked on campus. The poster requested that anyone with information report it to the Passaic County Prosecutors Office at 862-849-6019. The Semioli family is offering a $10,000 reward for “whoever solves this puzzle.”
“Hopefully, the people she was with that night will come forward,” said Gina Semioli.
Any court action for the case of Michael Choynowski, the 27-year-old North Arlington resident who took responsibility for the hit-and-run, has been delayed due to the ongoing investigation about the events of the night preceding the accident. The prosecutor has yet to decide whether or not to indict Choynowski, who is facing the charges of “knowingly leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident resulting in serious bodily injuries” and “endangering an injured victim.”
Emile Lisboa, Choynowski’s attorney, said, “They’re still looking for who [Anna] was with.”
In the weeks and months following the accident, the Semioli family developed another concern aside from the lingering questions surrounding the night Anna Semioli was struck. The hospital bills continue to grow, but Anna Semioli does not have medical insurance.
In order to help offset the mounting medical bills, Nick Schilt and Alyssa Bagletz, Anna Semioli’s former co-workers, hosted a fundraiser at the Bergen Brick Oven in South Hackensack on Oct. 28. Schilt, the owner of the restaurant, donated the $10 per person admission cost as well as 20 percent of the night’s profits to the Semiolis.
Gina Semioli said regarding the fundraiser, “They raised money. It was nice.”