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Crasher Corzine Broke Law By Not Wearing Seat Belt

By TODD VENEZIA and JEANE MacINTOSH
Posted: April 15, 2007
New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine

New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine wasn't wearing a seat belt when he was badly injured in a highway crash - violating a law that the Garden State spends hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to promote.

Corzine's spokesman admitted yesterday that the former Goldman Sachs boss - who doesn't particularly like to buckle up - didn't fasten his seat belt when he climbed into the SUV's front passenger seat Thursday. He was on his way to mediate talks between shock jock Don Imus and the Rutgers women's basketball team on Thursday.

The governor was left in serious condition when he went flying around the passenger compartment after his state-trooper driver swerved into a guardrail to avoid a pickup truck. That truck had swerved to avoid yet another vehicle.

"It does not appear the governor was wearing a seat belt," said spokesman Anthony Coley. When asked if the governor ever wears a seat belt, he said: "Again, the State Police are investigating."

The governor's chief of staff said yesterday it was unclear whether his security detail asked him to buckle up. "I don't want to speak to what the job of the state trooper would be, but those of you who know Governor Corzine know he's not always amenable to suggestion," Tom Shea said. "So I'm not sure that might have made all the difference anyway.

"If he was not, he certainly should have been," wearing his seat belt, Shea said. "And we would encourage the State Police to issue a citation."

Corzine yesterday was struggling to recover from massive injuries at Cooper University Hospital in Camden. While he is incapacitated, state Senate President Richard Codey will be acting governor.

The crash occurred at about 5:30 p.m. as Corzine's Chevy Tahoe was heading north on the Garden State Parkway from Atlantic City. They were in the northbound lane in Galloway Township.

The seat-belt revelation added insult to injury for a chief executive of a state that sternly enforces seat-belt laws on drivers.

State law requires all front-seat occupants to wear seat belts, said David Wald, a spokesman for the state attorney general's office. Violators face a $46 fine, he said.

Article at: nypost.com