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Governor of U.S. state of New Jersey in critical condition after motorcade crash

Governor of U.S. state of New Jersey in critical condition after motorcade crash

It will be at least several days before the governor of the U.S. state of New Jersey can return to work and several months before he can walk normally after a car accident left him hospitalized with serious injuries, a doctor said.
Jon S. Corzine, 60, was sedated and on a breathing tube Friday, after undergoing two hours of surgery Thursday night to repair his broken leg and other injuries sustained in the crash on the Garden State Parkway.
A doctor who helped treat him said the governor was fortunate he was not more seriously hurt.
"There's no way to tell specifically how close he came to more severe injuries, but based on pictures I've seen of the crash, I think he's lucky," said Dr. Steven E. Ross, trauma chief at Cooper University Hospital in Camden.
Ross said Corzine was stable and improving, and could be removed from a ventilator within the next few days.
"He's got a pretty significant rehab in front of him," said Dr. Robert Ostrum, who performed the surgery at Cooper University Hospital.
Corzine was riding in the front passenger's seat of a sport utility vehicle _ driven by a state trooper _ and was en route from Atlantic City to the governor's mansion in Princeton to moderate a meeting between the Rutgers University women's basketball team and radio personality Don Imus.
Imus was fired from his radio program Thursday amid furor about racially charged comments he made about the team on air. The closed-door meeting went on without Corzine, and lasted for about three hours.
The SUV was struck by a white pickup that swerved to avoid a red pickup that had swerved from the shoulder onto the highway, State Police Superintendent Rick Fuentes said. The governor's vehicle clipped the white pickup and slid into a guardrail.
A spokesman for the governor said it appeared that Corzine was not wearing a seat belt during the crash, despite a state law requiring it for front-seat passengers.
State police were looking for the driver of a pickup they believe caused the crash and fled. That driver could be charged with careless driving and leaving the scene of an accident. The governor himself could face a citation.
New Jersey law requires all front-seat occupants of a vehicle to wear a seat belt. Violators face a $46 (euro33.99) fine.
Corzine chief of staff Tom Shea said he did not believe the governor had been wearing his seat belt.
"If he was not, he certainly should have been," Shea said, "and we would encourage the state police to issue a citation."
Troopers in a vehicle following Corzine's administered first aid and called for help. Corzine, the trooper and a gubernatorial aide were flown by helicopter to the hospital.
The trooper had only minor injuries and the aide had none.
When Corzine arrived at the hospital, doctors said he was conscious but had suffered several injuries: a femur bone broken in two places that had lacerated his skin, a broken sternum, six broken ribs on each side, a head laceration and a minor fracture on a lower vertebrae.
Ostrum said Corzine did not have any brain or spinal damage. And the governor's injuries were not considered life-threatening.
Ostrum said a rod was inserted in Corzine's leg, and additional operations were scheduled for Saturday and Monday.
He said it would be at least three to six months before Corzine could walk normally.
State Senate President Richard Codey has taken over as acting governor and will serve indefinitely.
Corzine, a Democrat, gave up his seat in the U.S. Senate to become governor in 2006. He succeeded former Gov. James E. McGreevey, who resigned after saying he had an extramarital affair with a man.
Corzine went into politics after being ousted from Goldman Sachs, where he had been CEO, in a power dispute in 1999. He was elected to the Senate the following year.
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Associated Press Writer Angela Delli Santi in Trenton, New Jersey, contributed to this report.


Updated : 2021-10-24 05:21 GMT+08:00