April 18, 2007

Corzine Hit At 91 MPH

Governor Jon Corzine's car was traveling at 91 MPH just before it hit a guard rail in the accident that almost killed him, New Jersey's superintendent of state police admitted yesterday. Corzine wanted to make a meeting between Don Imus and the women's basketball team of Rutgers to facilitate an apology after Imus' offensive remarks. Originally, the superintendent discounted speed as a factor:

Leading up to the accident in which Gov. Jon S. Corzine of New Jersey was critically injured, the state trooper at the wheel of his sport utility vehicle was driving at 91 miles per hour, the superintendent of the state police said this afternoon.

In a telephone news conference, the superintendent, Col. Rick Fuentes, said: “With regard to the speed of the governor’s vehicle, all investigative data points to a speed of approximately 91 m.p.h. five seconds before impact with the guide rail. The vehicle’s speed at the time of impact with the guide rail was approximately 30 m.p.h.”

The speed of 90 m.p.h. is the equivalent of 132 feet a second — or put another way, in two and one-third seconds a vehicle moving at that speed could travel farther than the length of a football field. ...

In his news conference today, however, Colonel Fuentes said: “My initial information was that it didn’t appear at the time that speed was a factor. I was giving out information I had at the time.”

Asked if he now thought speed had been a factor in the accident, he said: “What do you think? Speed is always a factor.”

We seem to have a rash of public officials speaking without having reviewed the relevant facts. Alberto Gonzales created a firestorm from a spark, thanks to his public statements that contradicted the record at the Department of Justice. Now we have Fuentes telling reporters that speed wasn;t a factor in the accident, followed shortly thereafter with an snotty, dismissive retort that of course speed was a factor.

Well, far be it from me to defend the press, but perhaps Fuentes could have acknowledged that he was the one who said speed had nothing to do with the accident in the first place.

Now, the next question is why a car driven by a New Jersey state trooper was traveling at over 90 miles per hour, with the front-seat passenger not wearing a seat belt. The car was not responding to an emergency, and the speed limit had to have been at least 20 MPH less than the speed at which the trooper drove the Governor's SUV. At that speed and at that time of day, he not only put the Governor at risk, but he made the vehicle a danger to everyone else on the highway. State troopers should act to protect the people of New Jersey, not to endanger them in an effort to get a politician to a photo op.

I hope Corzine makes a full recovery and has proper pain management to be as comfortable as possible during his recuperation. Once he recovers, however, he and the state troopers have some questions to answer for their conduct.


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Comments (14)

Posted by George [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 18, 2007 6:20 AM

Another classic example of political arrogance. Laws don't apply to this elite group.

Posted by sam pender [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 18, 2007 6:34 AM

I canNOT STAND Gov Corzine. He's always seemed like a fake angry lawyer. Still, when I heard he was hurt, I felt bad, and I still wish him a speedy recovery-one as painless as possible.


HOW DARE HE BLOW OFF THE LAW THAT DANGEROUSLY! This is completely unacceptable. It reminds me of the Soviet Politburo racing their black limos through Moscow because they were special. It reminds me of French aristocrats racing their carriages through Paris before the French Revolution. It reminds me of everything elitist, false, and digraceful that politicians who are supposed to represent people do. Why not have a few drinks, smoke a little Jane, and tool around DC until ya hit a barricade (see also Rep Kenney-D)? Seriously, there are times when we've all gone a little fast, but I am certain that no more than .000000001 of the 300 million people in this nation have done it with a cop at the wheel just to make a political PR appearance. What absolute BS! If this guy were a Republican, the press would be all over his scandalous behavior. While I definitely feel bad the man and his driver were hurt...I have to wonder, if they hadn't been blowin doors on the freeway, if they'd have been doing like they're supposed to, and if they'd behaved as they expect us to behave, then they wouldn't be hurt. To that end, they did get what they had comin, they caused the accident. If ya drive your car intoa brick wall at 91, ya can't blame the wall because it's your fault. If ya drive your car into someone else's at 91, ya can't blame them because it's your fault.

Seriously, this just disgusts me.

PO'd bigtime!

Posted by Chris Hunt [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 18, 2007 6:38 AM

In Illinois, the police do not have to obey traffic laws. They can drive in any manner short of reckless endangerment, with or without lights or sirens. This actually makes sense, if you think about it.

Whether this information is germane to this instance is another matter.

Posted by JAT [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 18, 2007 6:55 AM


Here in New Jersey, we have more drivers that should have their licenses revoked than I have seen in almost any other state. We have crowded highways, and dangerous driving makes it worse. All too often, police, because they can, drive at reckless speeds for what purpose? There should be no excuse for police violating traffic laws - because they can. To me, this only makes others do the same.

While the first commenter may have gone overboard - he is correct. We live in a society that allows any celebrity to do what they want - including breaking the law. There is little doubt in my mind that the governor himself ordered the trooper to "Get me there on time, or else."

Had any of us been in that wreck - we'd been served a ticket already. Had there been a death, we would be facing manslaughter charges.

I have no respect for Corzine as a person or politician, but I am glad his injuries are not life-threatening and that no one died because of this accident. May God help him recovery. May He also help him see the value of this lesson.

Now someone, please, find me a Republican that can get elected as governor of NJ.

Posted by MarkD [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 18, 2007 7:07 AM

In NY, troopers also routinely violate the speed limits. Contempt for the law by those sworn to uphold it is an open invitation to the rest of us to violate laws we don't like.

Posted by KauaiBoy [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 18, 2007 7:10 AM

We also pay some of the highest insurance rates in the country thanks to this type of driving behavior (let alone the reckless use of cellphones by people who have no business being behind the wheel of 2 ton weapons of mass destruction). Corzine should receive a ticket for not wearing his seatbelt (great example for the kids Jon) and for aiding and abetting reckless and careless driving for not controlling the behavior of his driver. And then he should apologize to all NJ motorists for driving with such wanton disregard for human life and all for the purpose of attending the Imus/media circus performance.

Posted by sandspur [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 18, 2007 7:16 AM

In NJ the trooper might have just been driving with the flow of traffic. Speeds above 75 mph are the norm regardless of the posted speed limit (usually 65mph).
Drivers who drive the limit clog up the lanes and actually create many dangerous situations. Not sayin' speeding is right, just sayin' it is what it is.

Posted by NoDonkey [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 18, 2007 7:19 AM

Good to hear the Governor was doing something really important, when he was endangering lives on the highway.

Sorry, but I cry no tears for Corzine. I'm tired of seeing people driving their vehicles with NO regard for other drivers, because they're just SO important and their time is SO valuable.

Governor Corzine, you got EXACTLY what you deserve. Enjoy your painful, demobilizing injuries and be thankful your vehicle didn't kill or maim anyone else.

Hopefully, you'll recover and drive more carefully in the future.

Posted by Bender [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 18, 2007 9:20 AM

If I remember right, didn't a bunch of NJ or NY police complain VERY loudly shortly after Katrina when the state police in Virginia said that they would ticket out-of-state police vehicles that were caught speeding while traveling down to New Orleans? I seem to remember some NJ or NY police demanding that their Virginia brethren give them a break and allow them to flaught the law simply because they were police.

Posted by Bender [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 18, 2007 9:29 AM

I knew I remembered it correctly --

A speeding New Jersey police convoy should not have been warned to slow down here, their superiors say, despite numerous 911 calls from motorists claiming they were forced off Interstate 81.
An incensed New Jersey sheriff called an Augusta County deputy a “disgrace” for pulling over officers returning home from a Hurricane Katrina relief mission Sept. 18.
Augusta Sheriff Randy Fisher and the Virginia State Police defend the stop because the New Jersey officers were traveling 95 mph . . . “It was causing a dangerous situation, and basically we had to do something,” Fisher said. “People were pulling off to the left and people were pulling off to the right getting out of the way of these guys.”
Virginia State Police said they logged “numerous” 911 calls early Sept. 18 from motorists complaining about marked cars from the Passaic County Sheriff’s Office and Wayne Police Department driving dangerously near Weyers Cave. . . .
The news of the Augusta County stop incensed Passaic County Sheriff Jerry Speziale, who, in a taped telephone conversation with Roane, lambasted the deputy for stopping his officers.
“If you think that that’s not a disgrace, you should take that badge off your shirt and throw it in the garbage,” Speziale said. “This is unacceptable, and I’ll tell you what, I hope I get the opportunity to show you the same courtesy up here in New Jersey.”
Speziale told Roane “law enforcement is all about supporting each other” and said he was reporting the Augusta County stop to the National Sheriffs’ Association.

Crossing the thin blue line

Posted by NoDonkey [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 18, 2007 9:37 AM

A 95 mile an hour convoy on I-81? Is everyone in NJ absolutely insane?

They should have locked up whomever thought this was a good idea - maybe in a mental institution.

I-81 gets pretty hilly in certain spots. Even if it were as flat and as straight as I-10, this is outrageous.

Posted by Monkei [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 18, 2007 4:32 PM

After living and driving in Atlanta and Atlanta's highways and biways and peremeters my only thought is the trooper should be ticketed for driving so damn slow.

Posted by Always right [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 19, 2007 11:26 AM

Let the governor pay his own medical bill, and not pay him his salary while he recuperates and not able to perform his duty.

No other taxpayer or insurance company should pay for his own stupidity.

Posted by M. Simon [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 20, 2007 5:01 AM

Speed is always a factor.

If cars stopped moving the accident rate would be reduced considerably.

OTOH if a parked car gets hit speed is a factor. If it had been moving it wouldn't be at the scene of the accident.