June 2015 Archives

WOMAN CHARGED WITH CARELESS DRIVING FOR CRASH KILLING WWII VETERAN

A woman who crashed her SUV into a Wendy's has pleaded not guilty to a citation for careless driving. Elizabeth Garcia, 78, appeared with her attorney in Bayonne Municipal Court to respond to the careless driving charge, stemming from an accident earlier this year. A trial date on the charges has yet to be set. On February 19, 2015, Garcia drove her BMW SUV through the door and surrounding glass windows of a Bayonne Wendy's restaurant. While it is unclear what caused her to accelerate through the glass wall, it appears that she was attempting to park her vehicle when the crash occurred. When the vehicle entered the restaurant, it hit a 12-year-old child causing an injury to the child's leg, and hit 89-year-old John Ruiu of Bayonne. The SUV slammed Ruiu against the wall and subsequently pulled him under the vehicle's tires. Mr. Ruiu, who served in the Navy during World War II, was immediately hospitalized in critical condition, but passed away as a result of his injuries several weeks later on March 9. 

MOTORCYCLIST RECEIVES $2.5 MILLION SETTLEMENT FOR INJURIES IN CRASH

A man who was driving a motorcycle when a passenger vehicle cut him off has recently settled for $2.5 million. Gary Trevena was driving on Dover-Chester Road in Randolph in the summer of 2014 when the accident occurred. Patricia Cammaratta was driving in the opposite direction and turned left in front of Trevena after it was too late for Trevena to avoid hitting Cammaratta, and the vehicles collided head-on. Trevena was thrown onto the car and then onto the pavement, which resulted in shattered vertebrae for Trevena. One of his legs was partially paralyzed, and the other was entirely paralyzed from the spinal injury which ensued. 

DRIVER DIES IN TRACTOR-TRAILER TURNOVER IN MAHWAH

A tractor-trailer carrying cranberries recently overturned along state Route 287. The truck was en route to Boston and traveling on the flyover ramp from Route 17 in north Mahwah at the beginning of evening rush hour when it overturned. The accident resulted in the closure of Route 287 and the Route 17 flyover onramp, and miles of delays for drivers heading home at the end of the work day. Police and other emergency personnel spent roughly an hour attempting to extricate the driver of the tractor-trailer from the cab of the vehicle. A trauma surgeon from St. Joseph's Medical Center of Paterson was on hand at the scene of the accident. Unfortunately, shortly after the driver was extracted from the truck, he succumbed to his injuries, approximately an hour and a half after the crash originally occurred. No other vehicles were involved in the crash. The highway was not entirely re-opened until three hours after the crash occurred. 

POLICE OFFICER ARRESTED FOR ALLEGED HIT AND RUN

A police officer from the Patterson Police Department has been arrested for a fatal hit-and-run of a pedestrian. Jaquill Fields, along with his brother Ameen, were walking near the intersection of North Fourth and Temple streets in Paterson when a car, seeming to come out of nowhere, hit the two brothers and sent them in opposite directions. While Ameen ran over to his brother immediately, he was unable to help. A neighbor called 911 and Jaquill was transported to St. Joseph's Medical Center in Paterson, where he died of his injuries. Jaquill lived with his girlfriend and two-year-old son. 

UNDERSTANDING THIRD-PARTY LIABILITY CLAIMS

If you are injured at the workplace, you may already be considering filing a workers' compensation insurance claim. Although workers' comp benefits are usually your only option when it comes to receiving medical and financial assistance, in certain cases you may also be able to sue a third party for its role in your injury and the resulting damages you suffer. 

FIRE ESCAPE COLLAPSES WHILE TENANT ATTEMPTS TO ESCAPE BURNING APARTMENT

A recent fire in Jersey City has led to concerns over building safety and the maintenance of fire escapes. At around 5:20 am on June 15th, a four-story apartment building in Greenville caught fire in one resident's first-floor kitchen and made its way through the building. A third-floor resident, J.R. Williams, reported that he attempted to escape the building using the fire escape, but using the fire escape was fraught with problems. First, the sliding bolts on the doors to the fire escape had been painted over multiple times, so that each resident attempting to get through had to break down the access door nearest their unit. Second, Williams reported that he fell through the rusted fire escape stairs immediately after stepping onto them and fell one full story down onto the next landing. Another resident reported that each step he took down the escape caused the stair to collapse beneath him. A different resident stated that she knew the fire escape was in poor condition and had complained of the hazard to the landlord a number of times, to no avail. 

RECALL NOTICE DUE TO TIPPING RISK OF CHILDREN'S FURNITURE ISSUED

A recent recall notice has been issued by a children's furniture manufacturer based on fears of the armoires, dressers, and hutches tipping over. Pali Designs, Inc., a Canadian manufacturer, issued the voluntary recall notice based on a report that the hardware included with the furniture to anchor it to the wall, even when used correctly, was defectively manufactured and can break, allowing the furniture to become unmoored from the wall and tip over. No injuries associated with this defect have yet been reported to the Consumer Product Safety Commission ("CPSC"), the governmental body that monitors product safety and acts as a recall notice clearinghouse. The recall applies to eight separate lines of furniture manufactured by the company between January of 2006 and September of 2010, sold in independent children's furniture stores, online, and at Babies 'R' Us. A complete list of model names and serial numbers for the affected products can be found on the CPSC's website

ACCIDENT INVOLVING NJ TRANSIT BUS SENDS 31 TO THE HOSPITAL

In an accident which sent more people to the hospital than any other to occur in the Lincoln Tunnel this year, a New Jersey Transit bus recently rear-ended a chartered bus carrying elementary-aged children. The chartered bus contained a group of 26 Canadian eighth grade students, their principal, and a staff member, traveling into New York City from Toronto for several days of sightseeing. Fortunately, none of the Canadian students were injured. However, 31 of the 60 passengers on the New Jersey Transit bus, headed for the Port Authority Bus Terminal, were sufficiently injured as to require hospitalization. 

SHIPPING CONTAINER DETACHES FROM TRACTOR TRAILER, LEAVING ONE DEAD

An accident occurred recently on Route 3 in Rutherford involving a tractor trailer which left one man dead. While traveling under the overpass at Orient Way, a tractor-trailer holding a shipping container hit the overpass with the container. This action pushed the container off of the flat bed of the truck, which spun 360 degrees before crashing into the Honda Civic driven by James Hart III, 39, of Bronxville, NY. The container, empty at the time, pinned the car against the wall beneath the overpass. The container's instability made it difficult for emergency personnel to reach Hart, and he was pronounced dead at the scene. The accident, occurring at 2:30 p.m., resulted in closure of Route 3 until 9:00 p.m. that evening.

GAS EXPLOSION LEADS TO $2 MILLION SETTLEMENT FOR VICTIMS

James and Evelyn McCarty, both 67, will finally receive compensation for injuries they received after a propane gas explosion in their home in November 2013. The problem initially began in April of 2013 when the couple, homeowners in the Cape May community of Villas, New Jersey, decided to transition from using propane gas to natural gas to heat their home. The McCartys hired Shore Guys Heating and Air Conditioning at the recommendation of South Jersey Fuel & Propane. Although the company installed the natural gas, severed the pipes leading to the propane, and closed the valve on the propane tank, they failed to remove the propane tank from the home's basement or to lock up the propane tank. 

FIGHT BREAKS OUT AMONG CONCERTGOERS AT CAMDEN EVENT

For a third year, fights broke out among tailgaters of the WXTU Radio anniversary concert in a parking lot near the Susquehanna Bank Center, the site of the concert. Three individuals were hospitalized when fights broke out among the music festival tailgaters. One Mt. Ephraim woman, 51, and her son, in his 30s, became the victims of a group attack while in the parking lot. The pair did not wish to be identified by name. The woman was dragged through the parking lot. Her son was repeatedly punched in the face and head, and struggled to breathe, according to one witness. Yet another unidentified individual was stabbed in the hand. It is not clear if any arrests have yet occurred for the injuries occurring at this event. 

CHANGES IN NEW JERSEY LAW MAKING IT EASIER FOR TRUCKERS TO DRIVE LONGER HOURS WITHOUT REST

In June of 2014, actor and comedian Tracy Morgan, along with a number of his associates and friends, was critically injured in a collision on the New Jersey Turnpike between the limousine bus in which Morgan was riding and a Wal-Mart tractor trailer. Morgan, comedian Ardie Fuqua, and Morgan's assistant Jeffrey Millea, were all hospitalized with critical injuries. Morgan's friend and mentor, comedian Jimmy McNair, was tragically killed in the crash. The civil lawsuits filed by the three surviving critically-injured passengers and the family of McNair were recently settled, but Morgan reports that he is still recovering from his injuries, which included serious head trauma. The driver of the tractor trailer truck, Kevin Roper, was released on $50,000 bail after the crash. Authorities reported that Roper had been working over 13 hours at the time of the crash, and had not slept for over 24 hours at the time of the accident. 

TWO-ALARM HOUSE FIRE IN PLEASANTVILLE LEAVES TWO INJURED

A fire starting in a home on Charles Avenue in Pleasantville has left two residents injured. The fire, starting in the middle of the night, spread to the roof of the house. Firefighters initially arriving at the home called for a second alarm, and the fire still required 45 minutes to be put under control. Investigators are still unaware as to what started the fire. Of the two people injured in the blaze, one is in serious condition with burn injuries, and the other is stable.

NEWLYWED COUPLE DIES IN SINGLE-CAR ROUTE 3 CRASH

Jose Calderon, 49, a Patterson City employee, and Ana Perez, 34, were killed when the car they were in struck a tree off Route 3 in Clifton. Sadly, the couple had been married within just a few months of the crash. Both were pronounced dead at the scene. An investigation into the circumstances of the crash is ongoing, and the Clifton Police Department has asked any witnesses to come forward. 

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