N.J. Governor Corzine Seriously Injured, Saved by SUV

New Jersey governor Jon Corzine was critically injured last night when his car was struck by a hit-and-run driver.

Gov. Jon S. Corzine was in critical condition Friday but expected to recover after his SUV crashed into a guard rail while heading to a meeting between Don Imus and the Rutgers women’s basketball team.

Police were searching for a pickup truck driver whose actions were blamed for the crash on the Garden State Parkway. Corzine, 60, suffered numerous fractures, including a leg, his ribs, sternum and a vertebrae, authorities said.

The governor won’t be able to resume his duties as governor for days, if not weeks, and he won’t walk normally for months, his doctor said. Fortunately, he did not suffer any brain damage, said Dr. Robert Ostrum, who performed two hours of surgery Thursday night at Cooper University Hospital.

Senate President Richard Codey has taken over as acting governor. “He’s in serious shape, but he’s alive and going to survive. Hopefully, he’ll be back to work in a few weeks,” Codey said Friday on WNBC-TV.

One would expect a governor to have a police escort, so it’s quite bizarre that he was not only struck by a pickup truck but that the other driver got away. I’m glad to hear that he’ll recover; certainly, it could have been far more serious had he been in, say, a Prius rather than an “unsafe” SUV.

As an aside, I’m curious why he was going to a meeting between Imus and the Rutgers women. Yes, Rutgers (aka “The State University of New Jersey”) is a state institution and as governor he is ex officio chairman of their board, but that’s generally a duty exercised in the breach and this was not an official university function.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. His driver was a State Patrol officer.

  2. James Joyner says:

    Right. I meant outside the vehicle. Usually, there are motorcycle cops and at least a trailing and following state trooper vehicle. Shoot, football coaches get that much in Alabama.

  3. jim says:

    Why was he going? That was a joke right? He was going to cash in—just like everyone else. I wonder is he could have sustained those injuries while wearing a seatbelt.

  4. Tim C says:

    There is some question as to whether he was wearing a seatbelt, and, given the extent of his injuries, I’m willing to bet that he was not. With the advent of seatbelts and airbags, emergency services personnel are finding that auto accident injuries are starting to fall into two categories. Given seatbelts in use and properly deploying airbags, the injuries are either catastrophic due to the severity of the crash (vehicle basically ripped to pieces or crushed) or the victims are practically able to walk away even if the vehicle is badly damaged. Corzine’s SUV didn’t look damaged enough to be linked to the severity of his injuries (fractured leg, breastbone, 12 ribs) unless he was unbelted.

  5. Bandit says:

    Usually, there are motorcycle cops and at least a trailing and following state trooper vehicle. Shoot, football coaches get that much in Alabama.

    Not in the NE – standard police SUV with police gear, lights and sirens.

    I saw the SUV on TV and am wondering what hit it and drove away?

    Not to make light of his injuries but one more example that conservation is for the little people.

  6. Triumph says:

    I’m curious why he was going to a meeting between Imus and the Rutgers women. Yes, Rutgers (aka “The State University of New Jersey”) is a state institution and as governor he is ex officio chairman of their board, but that’s generally a duty exercised in the breach and this was not an official university function.

    The Governor offered his residence as a site for the meeting. The Rutgers campus would likely be a pretty hostile place to Imus.

  7. Triumph says:

    certainly, it could have been far more serious had he been in, say, a Prius rather than an “unsafe” SUV.

    What is your evidence for this, statement? Its pure conjecture.

  8. James Joyner says:

    What is your evidence for this, statement? Its pure conjecture.

    The modifier “could” is a surefire indicator of conjecture. Still, do you seriously doubt that there’s an advantage, when being struck by a pickup truck, to being in a taller, heavier vehicle?

  9. Bandit says:

    What is your evidence for this, statement? Its pure conjecture.

    Not counting about a 1000 studies on vehicles in crash tests.

  10. Bithead says:

    You’re hammering a rubber ball, James.

  11. James Joyner says:

    While taking Bithead’s point, here’s a conclusion from an anti-SUV site:

    Four-wheel-drive pick-up trucks and sport utility vehicles (SUVs) are designed to be driven for work, hauling, and off-road purposes. They were not designed to be people movers, and don’t handle nearly as well as passenger cars or mini vans. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that SUVs are four times more likely to roll over than passenger cars in high-speed maneuvers. In addition, SUV-to-car collisions are six times more likely to kill the occupants of the smaller vehicle when compared to a normal car-to-car collision. You may be safer inside an SUV, but you’re at greater risk of killing others in the event of an accident.

    Weight Matters – All cars must meet US Department Of Transportation standards for crash-worthiness. Larger and heavier cars, however, are usually safer in a collision than smaller ones. If a heavier vehicle collides head-on with a lighter one, the lighter will suffer substantially more damage. Drivers under 20 experience a much higher percentage of traffic fatalities when compared to other drivers, so consider the safety of a large or mid-sized sedan for inexperienced drivers. Large cars offer increased levels of comfort and roominess when compared to their smaller siblings, and today’s fuel injected engines allow mid-sized, 6-cylinder automobiles to enjoy remarkably good gas mileage. (Emphases mine)

    Now, granted, he might have been more likely to roll over swerving to avoid the wreck over in his SUV than in the Prius. But, presuming that getting hit was unavoidable, the SUV was the place to be.

  12. Triumph says:

    Still, do you seriously doubt that there’s an advantage, when being struck by a pickup truck, to being in a taller, heavier vehicle?

    It depends on the speed, the types of vehicles involved, the safety devices on the vehicle, and the location and nature of contact.

    The non-profit, independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates Prius as just as safe or safer than many SUVs.

  13. M1EK says:

    James,

    You ignore the possibility that a car will flip an SUV – and for a guy without a seatbelt on, that’s a disastrous outcome. A receptionist at a company I worked at a few years ago ended up wedging the front of her Civic under a Suburban – the Suburban driver (who was in the wrong) ended up very badly hurt; her, hardly at all.

    Likewise, a year or so ago, a friend in an Infiniti G35 (little coupe) flipped an SUV (this time it was his fault).

    The Prius ought to be lauded for providing its passengers excellent safety in a form which doesn’t just take it away from other crash victims. That’s the true disaster of SUVs – they’re a bit more dangerous for their own occupants than are cars (rollovers trump mass), and they’re a LOT more dangerous for everyone else. Not just a zero-sum game, but a lose-lose proposition.

  14. G.A.Phillips says:

    And all you libs might be missing the fact that a lot of you are lawful evil and no matter the facts or the rules you will twist them to fit your own agenda and still think you stating or fallowing them just like the rest of us. Every time your arguments get smashed its so hard for understand why other people won’t believe them cause you wille,wille want them to because you do, so you go into fabrication of what ever you need to get people to believe in your hyper-poo, but, but, but, only will turn you into an ass not others into donkey’s, there is no magic in the lie only understanding in the truth.

  15. uh_clem says:

    do you seriously doubt that there’s an advantage, when being struck by a pickup truck, to being in a taller, heavier vehicle?

    All other things being equal, when two vehicles collide the heavier one will experience lesser deceleration forces. (this is a direct consequence of the law of conservation of momentum) However, in practice all things are not equal. SUV’s are usually body-on-frame construction (i.e. they’re trucks) rather than unit-body construction with crumple zones, passenger safety cages, etc. These safety features are not present on some SUV’s, making them more dangerous to their passengers than a sedan that has them.

    The paradox of the crumple zones is that a car that’s designed to crumple on impact (thus absorbing energy instead of transmitting it to the passenger compartment) will look like an accordion after an accident, while a vehicle that is not designed to crumple will look more or less intact. The passengers on the inside are another story since they’ve taken the shock of impact, not the vehicle… This may be why the SUV doesn’t look all that bad in the pictures while the Governor is pretty beat up.

    As for your assertion about the advantage of a taller vehicle, a higher center of gravity is a disadvantage due to the risks of rollover, not to mention reduced maneuverability that can sometimes be used to avoid the accident in the first place.

    As M1EK points out, compared to sedans, SUV’s are somewhat safer for their own passengers in multi-vehicles collisions, significantly more dangerous for their passengers in single-vehicle accidents (mainly due to rollover), and quite deadly to passengers in other vehicles involved in multi-vehicle collisions.

    Take a look at this data from the Highway Loss Data Institute and you’ll see that there’s significant variation within each vehicle category (large SUV, midsize sedan, small pickup truck, etc.). In particular, the Prius is about 30% better with regard to injury compared to the fleet average of all vehicles, and equivalent to the fleet average of the “All Large SUV” category.

    I agree that I’m glad to hear that he’ll recover.

  16. uh_clem says:

    Ok. I’ve tried to reply twice and your server eats the posts.

    Is it broken?

    Dude, you’ve posted the same message half a dozen times. -ed.

  17. Andy says:

    “And all you libs might be missing the fact that a lot of you are lawful evil and no matter the facts or the rules you will twist them to fit your own agenda and still think you stating or fallowing them just like the rest of us.”

    Wait a darn second. I thought that we were Chaotic Evil, or Neutral Evil at best.

  18. Anderson says:

    And all you libs might be missing the fact that a lot of you are lawful evil

    SAY IT AIN’T SO!!!

    G.A. … reactionary DUNGEONS & DRAGONS vet?

    My worldview, it shakes ….

  19. Bithead says:

    Now, granted, he might have been more likely to roll over swerving to avoid the wreck over in his SUV than in the Prius

    Nah.
    I’ve driven both. That Tahoe he was in is pretty impressive handling- wise… even in it’s stock format… and in the Police config, which is what I drove for a while, there, you’d have to be pretty damned deliberate to get the thing to roll….and the Prius… well, let’s just say that after driving it, I don’t own one, and let it go at that. My conversion van handles better.

  20. G.A.Phillips says:

    Yup D+D for over 30 years and used to have a very liberal lifestyle but I never believed in it as a philosophy, the liberal part I meant, and no I’m the chaotic evil one,remember I’m a christian.