CHATHAM, NJ - A 67-year-old Madison man became ill while driving a Honda Odyssey on Main Street Friday afternoon, crossed into the oncoming traffic, knocked over the traffic light and struck an 11-year-old boy, who was walking on the sidewalk.
Both the driver, Mark Libbey, and the boy were transported to Morristown Medical Center by the Chatham Emergency Squad. Neither sustained life-threatening injuries. The boy, a Chatham resident, suffered injuries to his left arm and right leg. His name is being withheld because he is a minor.
A medical doctor was on scene at the time of the crash and immediately rendered medical assistance just prior to the arrival of patrol officers.
"It appears (the boy) was at one point under the car, but I can't say that for sure. He sustained serious, but not life-threatening injuries to his left leg and to his right arm," Lt. Brian Gibbons of the Chatham Borough Police said.
Considering the account given, it is very fortunate that more injuries were not sustained since the Odyssey came to rest and then surged through the gas station, striking a parked Mercedes and "pushed the parked vehicle over a 12-inch concrete curb and into the exterior wall of Liberty Drug," according to police.
After striking the Mercedes, the Odyssey rolled backwards and finally was stopped by a poll guarding the pumping station.
According to Lt. Gibbons the accident occurred at 3:53 p.m. Libbey was driving West on Main Street towards Madison when he became ill and lost control of his vehicle. The boy was walking East with another juvenile on the sidewalk alongside the Exxon Station.
"An elderly gentleman was traveling westbound on Route 124 (Main Street)," Gibbons said. "He seemed to lose control of his blue-colored Honda Odyssey. He actually came across the intersection into oncoming traffic, went up the curb, struck the light stanchion and knocked it down. There were two children walking on the sidewalk, headed East and one of them appeared to be able to jump out of the way. The other juvenile was struck by the vehicle. He sustained serious injury, but it does not appear to be life-threatening.
"The truck momentarily came to rest at the corner of the Exxon station lot, where there is a "No Left Turn" sign and then catapulted again, driving through the gas station. It struck the (parked) Mercedes, and catapulted it into the wall (of Liberty Drug). The Mercedes symbol in the front could be seen in the wall. Then after it struck the Mercedes, it rolled backwards and came into contact with the post at the edge of the filling tanks."
It is believed Libbey suffered some sort of cardiac episode since he mentioned pain in the chest area to police on the scene.
"He had suffered some sort of medical condition," Gibbons said. "It is believed it was cardiac. That's what he was complaining about. He was conscious."
Sergeant Michael Mahoney was the first on the scene for the Chatham Police and immediately helped the doctor attend to the injured boy, according to Gibbons. Police Officer Jeffrey Battiloro arrived next and began to secure the scene and control traffic.
The Morris County Sheriff's Office was called in to investigate and the accident was treated as a crime scene so that all the evidence could be collected and maintained.
"We conduct it as a crime scene until we can confirm otherwise," Gibbons said.
Gibbons pointed out that there was no indication that it was a crime scene, but it had to be treated as such because there were serious injuries sustained. Whenever there is fatality or a serious injury, an accident must be treated as a crime scene.
Chatham Township and Madison Borough police personnel assisted at the scene.
A Chatham Township resident, who parked his year-old Mercedes GLK at the Exxon station for his train commute, returned from work to find his car wrecked.
"This had to a one-in-a-million chance of hitting my car," said the man who declined to give his name.