New Jersey Governor Critically Injured In Motorcade Crash - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

04/13/07 - Camden, New Jersey

New Jersey Governor Critically Injured In Motorcade Crash

Gov. Jon S. Corzine was critically injured when his motorcade crashed en route to a meeting between radio personality Don Imus and the Rutgers women's basketball team, a doctor said.

Corzine, 60, suffered numerous broken bones but his injuries were not considered life-threatening, officials said. He was recuperating early Friday at Cooper University Hospital in Camden after two hours of surgery to repair a seriously damaged leg and other injuries.

Dr. Robert Ostrum said that Corzine's surgery was successful but noted that the governor would need two more operations on his leg in the coming days.

Doctors also inserted a breathing tube that would remain "for days to weeks, until [Corzine] is able to breathe on his own again," Ostrum said.

Corzine had a broken sternum, a broken collarbone, a slight fracture of his lower vertebrae, a broken left leg, six broken ribs on each side and a laceration on his head, said Dr. Steven Ross, head of trauma for the hospital.

Corzine was riding in his two-car motorcade's sports utility vehicle when a white pickup truck swerved to avoid a red pickup truck that had corrected itself after driving onto the right shoulder of the Garden State Parkway around 6 p.m. EDT, said State Police Superintendent Rick Fuentes.

The white pickup slammed into the passenger side of Corzine's vehicle, causing the driver's side to strike a guardrail.

The trooper driving the vehicle, Robert Rasinksi, suffered minor injuries but was resting comfortably, Fuentes said. An aide to the governor also was in the vehicle, but was not injured.

"It looks as if the trooper did a tremendous job doing what he could to maintain control of that vehicle," Fuentes said.

Fuentes and Ross said it was unclear whether the governor was wearing his seat belt at the time of the crash. Authorities were still searching for the red pickup truck and its driver.

Corzine had been in Atlantic City, but was returning to the governor's mansion in Princeton for the meeting between Imus and Rutgers.

Imus was fired from his radio program Thursday amid a 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.

While Corzine is hospitalized, state Senate President Richard Codey will serve as acting governor.

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 Congress the following year.

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