Hit twice crossing street, she survives

BELLEVILLE –

An elderly out-of-town woman was struck – twice – while crossing a Belleville street recently.

Although she was seriously hurt, the woman is expected to survive, officials said.

Police Chief Mark Minichini said the incident happened at about 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 22, at Joralemon St. and S. Franklin Ave.

Minichini gave this account of the accident:

The pedestrian, an 83-year-old Nutley resident, was crossing Joralemon, from west to east, while a township Department of Public Works vehicle was turning left, from Franklin to Joralemon.

The driver later told police that “he thought he was clear of the intersection,” Minichini said, but “contact [with the woman] was made,” causing her to fall to the pavement.

Then, another vehicle driven by a Bloomfield woman, making a left from Joralemon to Franklin, inadvertently ran over the stricken pedestrian.

The Nutley victim was rushed to University Hospital in Newark by a Belleville fire apparatus where she was initially listed in critical condition but, as of last week, was said to be recovering and reportedly out of danger, Minichini said.

Arriving soon after the accident, township police initiated interviews with the people at the scene to learn what happened but, according to the chief, the DPW driver reportedly did not initially volunteer his involvement in the accident.

“He didn’t leave the scene,” the chief said, but it was only after police investigators reviewed videos and details of the victim’s injuries that they concluded it was the DPW vehicle that initially struck the woman.

Minichini said the DPW driver was not criminally charged but was issued summons charging him with failure to report a motor vehicle accident, careless driving and failure to yield to a pedestrian.

The DPW employee “has a valid driver’s license,” Minichini said, but, as of last week, had been “suspended from driving township vehicles.”

Township Manager Mauro Tucci identified the DPW employee as Gary Nobile, who has worked for Belleville for about a decade. “I’m going to wait for the disposition on the tickets and then see about scheduling an administrative hearing,” he said.

As part of his preparatory review, Tucci said he has a report on the employee’s past work record from his supervisor.

“I’m sure [the employee] is traumatized over what happened,” he said.

The Bloomfield driver was not charged, the chief said.

As of last week, an investigation of the accident was still active but “we’re winding it down now,” he said.

Ron Leir | Observer Correspondent

Ron Leir has been a newspaperman since the late ’60s, starting his career with The Jersey Journal, having served as a summer reporter during college. He became a full-time scribe in February 1972, working mostly as a general assignment reporter in all areas except sports, including a 3-year stint as an assistant editor for entertainment, features, religion, etc. He retired from the JJ in May 2009 and came to The Observer shortly thereafter. He is also a part-time actor, mostly on stage, having worked most recently with the Kearny-based W.H.A.T. Co. and plays Sunday softball in Central Park, N.Y.