Jersey Shore star Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi was criminally charged for selling booze to minors at a party at her house — a party that ended with the tragic drunk driving death of one of her classmates, RadarOnline.com has uncovered in a blockbuster exclusive.
Snooki was one of three people charged in connection with the 2004 death of teenager Michael Truncali, a RadarOnline.com investigation revealed.
The Marlboro High School senior died with a blood alcohol level of .18 — more than twice the legal limit — when he rolled his Mazda in the early hours of Thanksgiving morning after drinking for hours at Snooki’s house.
Truncali had been drinking heavily in the basement of Snooki’s home before crashing his car on his way home. After a several month investigation, Snooki was charged with Prohibited Sale of Alcoholic Beverages, as authorities said she charged a fee for alcohol.
Snooki has emerged as one of the breakout stars of MTV’s hit show, where boozing and partying is frequently part of the episodes.
According to police statements at the time, the party took place in a home owned by Helen Polizzi – who is Snooki’s mother.
Helen Polizzi was investigated but not charged.
Marlboro Police Chief Stephen Fajfer said police found Helen Polizzi was home during the course of the party.
“She cooperated,” Fajfer said about the investigation that began in 2004 and lasted several months. “She came in willingly and spoke to us several times about the incident.”
When RadarOnline.com approached Helen Polizzi at her home in New York this week, she refused to comment without an attorney being present.
The parents of the victim, however, do not think the entire truth has been told and they expressed conflicting emotions about Snooki.
Breaking their five-year silence in an emotional interview with RadarOnline.com at their home, Michelle and Bill Truncali said they were upset that Jersey Shore appears to “glorify” alcohol consumption.
Michelle said she watched two episodes and couldn’t take anymore.
She expressed some anger toward Snooki, saying: “She doesn’t care about what happened to our son.” But later in the interview she took a more conciliatory tone and told RadarOnline.com: “We’re not out to trash Nicole. I never blamed her for what happened, she was a 16-year-old (sic). I blame others. I am not looking for those people to get arrested, I just want the truth.”
Her husband told RadarOnline.com: “I just don’t feel that parents should allow underage drinking in their homes.”
Both Truncalis said they have achieved closure on their son’s death and accepted his own responsibility for the accident, but they remain determined to find the truth about who supplied the alcohol that led to their crash.
So far, they have opted not to pursue a civil case for damages.
Bill Truncali told RadarOnline.com: “I don’t feel like the whole story has come out; that remains our big issue. I want to see the truth come out.”
Bill and Michelle said they hope that by speaking out they will spread a message to other teens about the perils and consequences of underage drinking and driving.
“If this brings some exposure to the problem and if it stops this from happening to someone else, that is a good thing,” Bill Truncali told RadarOnline.com.
The police investigation immediately centered on the party at Snooki’s home.
“Within a couple of hours we knew that there was a party,” police officer Joseph Lotharo of the Marlboro Police Department said at the time.
“We had indications that alcohol played a large factor in the crash.”
One source at the party told RadarOnline.com that adults at the party were drinking alcohol with the minors. Ultimately, Ulster County District Attorney Donald Williams said there was insufficient evidence to prosecute Snooki’s mother.
The source, however, said that adults at the party were drinking alcohol with the kids.
Two other men at the party were arrested for providing alcohol.
At the site where Truncali died, the twisted bumper of the car wreck still marks the spot today, a grim reminder of a night that forever changed lives.