Two pedestrians died after they were struck by a police car on the New Jersey Turnpike when they exited a disabled vehicle, according to reports. The two victims, Jason Champion, 41, of Brooklyn and Nuwnah Laroche, 34, of East Elmhurst, were walking in the northbound left lane after their SUV was disabled on the southbound side. Officer Arsenio Pecora, 46, struck them with his patrol car, killing them both. Pecora was returning from training at Fort Dix at the time. Officials are investigating the crash.
Pedestrian Accidents on Divided Highways
Every year, pedestrian victims are killed when vehicles are disabled on major highways and the driver or passengers attempt to exit the vehicle and seek help. Experts agree that walking on a divided highway, even in the breakdown lane, is a very easy way to get hurt and should be avoided whenever possible.
If you do experience a breakdown on a busy road, here are some tips for staying safe:
- Pull over as soon as possible. If you can, try to pull over after exiting the freeway, where cars are less likely to be traveling at high speeds. If this is impossible, pull over to the side of the road as far as you safely can.
- Stay in the car. If at all possible, stay in the vehicle with your hazard lights blinking to increase your visibility. Call for help from your cell phone. It is also a good idea to keep your phone handy and charged at all times when you travel.
- Exit the vehicle on the side away from traffic. If you must exit the vehicle due to smoke, fire or fumes, do so on the side away from traffic. Try to move away from the vehicle without moving toward traffic and call for help from your safe location.
- Do not attempt repairs. Even if you feel confident changing a tire or handling a repair, do not attempt to do so on the side of a busy highway. Call for help and have the vehicle towed out of the danger area.
If you are injured in any type of car accident, a personal injury attorney may be able to help you collect compensation for your injuries. Contact the attorneys at the Fitzgerald Law Firm in New York for more information about pursuing a personal injury claim against someone who caused you injury, pain and suffering.