More Details Emerge From Christie 2002 Car Accident

September 4, 2009 1:45 p.m.

I have now reviewed the police report from Republican former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie’s car accident in 2002, when the then-U.S. Attorney and current nominee for Governor of New Jersey struck a motorcyclist while going the wrong direction on a one-way street in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

As the Star-Ledger reported, the accident happened when Christie was on his way to attend the swearing-in of the Union County prosecutor in Elizabeth, when he hit motorcyclist Andrew Mendonca.

From the police report:

Veh #1 [Christie] states he was traveling west on Murray St. and was lost. He reached Chilton St. The light was red so he inched forward attempting to make a right on red but never saw the one-way traffic sign. He then stopped upon observing oncoming traffic, Veh #2 [Mendonca] also braked. The motorcycle fell on its side and slid into his vehicle. Veh #2 states he was traveling on Chilton St. when Veh #1 turned in front of him.

Christie’s vehicle was then towed away by the police, according to the report, while Mendonca’s motorcycle was also taken away by a private tow truck.

As the Star-Ledger reported, Mendonca was then taken to University Hospital in Newark — a curious detail, as that hospital is several miles away from the street corner where the accident took place. Another hospital, Trinitas, was conveniently located just a few blocks away.

The Associated Press contacted Mendonca, who declined to comment.

The most peculiar thing here is that Christie was clearly at fault by turning the wrong way onto a one-way street, but was not ticketed. The Star-Ledger asked the local police director whether Christie’s position as U.S. Attorney — and he did identify himself to the police officer — was a factor in his not being cited. The police director’s answer: “I don’t think I want to make that kind of deduction, but I think the facts speak for themselves.”

TPM sent multiple requests for comment to the Christie campaign about the incident, which have not been answered. Attempts to contact the police officer, Rafael Vasques, as well as Police Director James Cosgrove and victim Andre Mendonca were similarly unsuccessful.

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