Friday, September 23, 2016

Columnist protects cops who allowed murder in crosswalk

In this photo from, investigators use a sheet to block a view of the mangled body of Leyla Kahn on Aug. 7, 2014, after she was struck in a Leonia crosswalk and dragged for 71 feet as horrified onlookers tried to alert the driver of the minibus that ran her down.


Leave it to one of The Record's most confused and error-prone reporters to compare the "illicit" lane closures at the George Washington Bridge in 2013 to traffic jams on Fort Lee Road in neighboring Leonia.

Even more shameful is Staff Writer John Cichowski ignoring the August 2014 death of Leyla Kahn, 60, who was struck in a crosswalk at Fort Lee Road and Broad Avenue in Leonia, and dragged to her death by a minibus driver who failed to yield to her (L-1).

On the day the restaurant owner died, Leonia Police Chief Thomas Rowe deflected responsibility from his department by complaining about an "inordinate amount of traffic" in his town from the turnpike and bridge, and appealed to the state for help.

Rowe even told his borough was too broke to keep a crossing guard stationed at its busiest intersection year-round, and was so understaffed putting an officer there was out of the question.

Instead of exposing Rowe, The Record allows him to continue complaining about that bridge traffic, as readers can see from the criminal Road Warrior column today.

Not related to GWB

Of course, despite what the police chief said, Kahn's death was totally unrelated to the traffic that seeks a short cut via Leonia's Fort Lee Road when the bridge is jammed.

She died at the hands of a driver who had received summonses for nine motor vehicle violations and whose driver's license was suspended five times since 1992, The Record reported on Sept. 22, 2015.

That's when former minibus driver Esperanza Jaramillo of Tenafly pleaded guilty in Leonia Municipal Court to failure to yield to a pedestrian who had the right of way and driving a vehicle with badly worn tires.

She was fined $328.

The prosecutor basically allowed her to get away with murder, and decided not to pursue a third charge of careless driving.

The judge thought the punishment was too light and also imposed a 180-day license suspension on Jaramillo, who worked for Rainbow Transportation and was taking special-needs students to a day camp in Tenafly, when she struck and killed Kahn.

The dead woman's husband filed a negligence lawsuit against Jaramillo; Rainbow Transportation of Bergenfield; and the owners of the company, Julia and Robert Carozza.

Takes credit

Cichowski even takes credit for a "Road Warrior exclusive" on Sept. 13, 2013, that, he claims, prompted the Port Authority's executive director to halt a bogus traffic study, and reopen the closed bridge access lanes in Fort Lee.

He names five readers for tipping him to the lane closures, when, in fact, then-Publisher Stephen A. Borg wrote in an email to subscribers one of his friends called from the GWB traffic jam he was trapped in to see if the paper knew what was going on.

Borg then contacted Cichowski.

Impeach Christie

Columnist Brigid Callahan Harrison is asking the state Legislature to consider charges of impeachment against Governor Christie.

She says Christie should be impeached, if prosecutors show he lied about the September 2013 GWB gridlock on Jan. 9, 2014, when he claimed he "had no knowledge and involvement in this issue, in its planning and its execution."

Harrison wrote the column for The Star-Ledger on Thursday.

In her column for The Record last Sunday, Harrison discussed Christie's "policy of rewarding ... friends and punishing ... enemies."

Fort Lee's mayor, Mark Sokolich, wasn't the only Democrat who suffered after refusing to endorse Christie for reelection in November 2013.

Two others she lists are Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop and Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer.

And when Democrats endorsed the GOP thug, there were abundant rewards.

The columnist reports Christie funneled $6 million in federal funds for Superstorm Sandy recovery to build a long-desired senior citizens housing project in Belleville -- two weeks after the Democratic mayor endorsed the governor -- "even though there was no significant damage" to the town.

In Harrison, the Port Authority agreed to spend $256 million for a new PATH station at Christie's behest.

"A mere week" after construction plans were filed with the town, the "then-mayor and eight Democratic council members endorsed Christie."

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