Thursday, April 19, 2007

New Questions Arise After New Jersey State Police Bungle Corzine's Accident Investigation.

David Kocieniewski, "Corzine's Speed Put at 91 MPH Near Crash Site," in The New York Times, April 18, 2007, at p. A1.

"... [Corzine's] Chevrolet Suburban was traveling 91 miles per hour, 26 miles over the posted limit, according to a crash data recorder retrieved from the vehicle."

Normally, any speed in excess of twenty miles over the legal speed limit is deemed "reckless driving." Thus far, neither the driver of the governor's vehicle nor any other driver has been issued any summons whatsoever for conduct that is clearly in violation of New Jersey traffic laws. If troopers are seen by the public to violate such laws, with impunity, citizens must wonder why they should be punished for infractions. Allegations that the trooper driving Mr. Corzine and entrusted with his safety was in the midst of a call on his cellphone have not been verified.

Original reports attributing the accident to the driver of a red pickup truck that swerved into the path of a white vehicle, causing the driver of the "Suburban" in which Corzine was seated to turn in order to avoid a collision -- crashing into the guardrail -- were somewhat "hasty." Colonel Fuentes of the New Jersey State Police explained:

"... troopers who drive the governor and other state officials are given discretion to use the emergency lights and exceed the speed limit in cases of an emergency and, because of security concerns, are advised not to let the governor's vehicle remain bogged down in a traffic jam."


"... we ask them to obey the traffic laws and the speed laws."

Violations of such laws are as punishable when committed by troopers as they are when committed by others.

"Eugene O'Donnell, a professor of police studies at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said that speed might be justified for a governor racing to respond to a natural disaster, but that 'an elected official trying to get to a routine appointment would certainly be out of the scope of an emergency definition.' ... "

"The results of the accident investigation contradict the original account the state police gave in the first 24 hours. Colonel Fuentes said Thursday night that 'speed was not a factor' in the accident. When asked Tuesday whether he now believed that speed played a role in the accident, Colonel Fuentes replied 'What do you think?' ..."

"The police and other state officials also originally said the accident was caused by the erratic out-of-control movements of a red pickup truck, whose driver, Kenneth Potts of Little Egg Harbor, N.J. was identified on Saturday but not charged."

If Mr. Potts was indeed the driver of that red pickup, it is surprising that he would not be charged or questioned under oath concerning an illegal lane change, leaving the scene of an accident -- an accident which he could hardly have failed to notice -- and several other offenses that come to mind. The strange caution about charging drivers with traffic offenses that are routinely issued by New Jersey cops suggests a reluctance by the authorities to have this matter examined in a court of law.

I wonder why there is such a "reluctance"?

This has led to new questions concerning the true identity of the driver of that red pickup or the real motives of such a driver, whoever that person may be. Also, troopers responsible for the safety of public officials must not place their lives in jeopardy by driving at speeds and in a manner that would result in charges for anyone else.

In a state that sought the resignation of a former attorney general, allegedly, because she failed to wear her seatbelt or because her mere presence at a roadside scene might cramp the style of cops who should issue summonses, this curious lack of concern in the face of blatant illegality, resulting in heinous injury to a high public official is most worrisome. Many have used the word "hypocrisy."

Think of the hundreds -- or even thousands -- of dollars in fines that might be collected in a state with disappearing billions from the public treasury. The failure to issue summonses and the misrepresentation of crucial facts in this matter of great public interest can only be described as "unethical," or at best "inept." These are words ordinarily reserved for New Jersey's Supreme Court and those who serve as "justices" on that court. New Jersey police must be better than that.

Was the real motive for "causing" this accident to deflect Corzine's corruption-busting efforts? Does this hidden motive have something to do with the smear campaign against an incapacitated man?

Winnie Hu, "In Wishing Corzine Well, Sympathy is Mixed With Resentment," in The New York Times, April 20, 2007, at p. B1:

"... [New Jersey] residents say they do not know why he was violating the speed limit ..."

Mr. Corzine could not have violated the speed limit since he was not driving the vehicle. Corzine relied on the competence of a New Jersey State Trooper entrusted with protecting him and transporting him "safely" to his locations. The smear campaign in the media on the part of the Trenton Syndicate is especially ugly when the victim is hospitalized and unable to respond.

Does the fact that Mr. Corzine is a fellow Democrat count for nothing with the Jersey Boys? I guess not.

This may be even worse than what they did to Zulima Farber. It is an implied threat to their critics that they can hurt and smear people, through their media friends, along with a further revelation (if any were needed) that they have finally sunk lower than the dog shit on their shoes -- which they so closely resemble.

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