Saturday, December 25, 2010

Expect lawsuits galore

a common VMS sign displaying a warning in East...Image via Wikipedia

The chain-reaction crash that killed two and injured five on the New Jersey Turnpike in Ridgefield will generate lawsuits galore that we'll be reading about for a couple of years. 

But the story on the front page of The Record today left a couple of important questions unanswered, despite the effort of at least four reporters for the Woodland Park daily and The Star-Ledger, and an unknown number of editors.

Reading the story, the time line begins around 6:45 in the morning Friday -- when a tractor-trailer's rear wheels fell off -- and ends at 7:19 a.m., when two victims were pronounced dead. I'm sure lawyers are already drawing up suits against the owner of that apparently poorly maintained truck.

The story is silent on whether it was dark or light. Why couldn't drivers see vehicles and people in the travel lanes before they struck them? 

A state trooper is quoted: "It's just one of those things that unfolded so rapidly, nobody had time to stop and get out of the way." 

What is the chance the paper will do a follow and report on whether any of the drivers were speeding, speaking on cellphones and so forth?

Accident of the day

To supplement the gore on the turnpike, head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes runs a non-fatal "accident-of-the-day" photo on L-2 today. 

A fatal SUV hit-and-run involving a worshiper on his way to a synagogue in Englewood is relegated to L-3. 

Cliffview has far more information on the hit-run, including the victim's name and profession. Here's the link:

Doctor killed in Englewood

A few years ago, another Orthodox Jew was killed by an SUV as he was crossing Grand Avenue. 

The Englewood reporter quoted police as saying the man wasn't in a crosswalk when he was stuck, but there were no crosswalks at that point on Grand. Maybe the reporter did the story by phone, and never went to the scene to check out the cops' statement.

I'll bet there was a big lawsuit filed over that Grand Avenue fatality, though I never saw anything about it in the paper.
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