Corzine’s Vehicle Reached 91 M.P.H. Just Before Crash
By DAVID KOCIENIEWSKI and CARLA BARANAUCKAS
CAMDEN, N.J., April 17 — 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.
The accident occurred last Thursday as the governor was traveling from Atlantic City to Princeton on the Garden State Parkway for a meeting between Don Imus, the fired radio talk-show host, and the Rutgers University women’s basketball team.
Mr. Corzine was riding in the front passenger seat, the state police said, and was not wearing a seat belt, even though New Jersey state law requires that all passengers riding in the front seat of a vehicle be belted.
Shortly after the crash, Colonel Fuentes said he did not believe speed had been a factor.
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.”
Mr. Corzine, 60, who broke his leg, collarbone, sternum and a dozen ribs in the accident, remains in critical but stable condition at Cooper University Hospital in Camden, N.J., where he has had three surgeries on his broken leg and has undergone a procedure to remove fluid that had collected around one of his lungs.