CRANBURY, NJ – Chief of Police Rickey Varga said this week that a “mechanical malfunction” caused an East Brunswick driver to hit a second vehicle at a North Main Street intersection and then continue on into a group of people dining outside at Cranbury Pizza, injuring two juveniles.
In an email this week, Varga said that the malfunction was responsible for the Sept. 5 accident in which Keith Maluchinick, 46, of East Brunswick, was heading west on Park Place East in a 1993 Ford F-150 and failed to stop at the intersection with North Main Street at about 7:40 p.m., police said.
His truck struck the left rear of a blue, 2006 Chevrolet Trailblazer operated by Nicole Lesniak, 38, of East Windsor.
The Trailblazer then continued across the street and jumped the curb in front of Cranbury Pizza, striking several tables where people were eating, according to police.
It then came to what police described as an “uncontrolled” stop after striking several tables, diners and, finally, the building itself.
According to police, there were three injuries related to the crash.
A front seat passenger in the Trailblazer, Jason Lesniak, 40, of East Windsor, was transported to University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro for reported back pain.
The two other victims, who were also transported to University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro, have been identified by police as 2- and 6-year-old children.
While Cranbury Police are not releasing their identities, the children's injuries were reported as cuts, scrapes and contusions to their legs and faces.
Maluchnick was cited for unsafe driving, according to police.
Police are also considering possible criminal charges as a result of the actions of individuals who were at the scene, according to the release.
Immediately after the crash, bystanders allegedly threatened Maluchnick, causing damage and criminal mischief to his vehicle.
“I am disappointed and concerned with the actions exhibited at the scene by individual(s),” Varga said in a press release following the accident. “During a scene such as this, we have more of an expectation that people will act appropriately and accordingly, rendering any aid or assistance until police and first responders arrive, as was the case with most others at the scene. Unfortunately, this was not true for all.”