FAIR LAWN, NJ - A relative of one of the two injured 17-year-old boys spoke out after an accident earlier this month at the "Radburn bump" on Howard Avenue that left one of the boys in the hospital with significant internal injuries and fractures.
Gindy Z. Rosa, aunt of one of the teen drivers that was involved in the accident on Sept. 4, said she wanted to correct the record, mostly provided by Fair Lawn police.
According to police, the 2004 white Acura smashed into the tree at Howard Avenue and Alden Road after driving over what is known as the "Radburn bump", causing the vehicle to go airborne. Once the vehicle landed, it swerved to the right, struck a ‘no parking’ sign and then struck a tree, police said.
The crash is still under investigation by the Fair Lawn Police Department.
Rosa, a certified M.A.D.D. volunteer (Mothers Against Drunk Drivers), noted she is both "a car crash survivor and a severe traumatic brain injury survivor, caused by a drunk driver."
"Both teens were transported to Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack via ambulance, where they received treatment by the Pediatric ICU Trauma Unit, not St. Joseph’s Medical Center, in Paterson," she said in an email to TAPinto last week. "The driver, my nephew, remains in the ICU with significant internal injuries and fractures."
Rosa said her understanding of the accident is that there were no witnesses, "other than those who immediately ran over to the scene after hearing the loud collision to assist the boys trapped in the vehicle."
"It’s important to note the fact that both teens were indeed wearing their seat belts," she said. "Had they not been, they would have certainly been ejected from the vehicle upon impact. As people came to aid them, they undid the buckle attempting to get the boys out of the mangled car."
"After the accident occurred, the area quickly became flooded by first responders, policemen and fire department, as well as additional, curious residents," she said.
Rosa disputes whether the speed of the vehicle in the accident was a factor.
"The actual speed limit at which the driver, my nephew, was going is NOT a known fact," she said, "as there wasn’t a posted police officer with a speedometer. Neither is it known whether he [her nephew] 'purposely' ran over the hump, causing the car to go airborne, as stated by the police officer in the original report."
Rosa said the Radburn "bump" is well known and causes issues even when driving at the speed limit for the road.
"One can easily lose control of the car and even hit their head against the roof of the car, because the “hump” is so forceful that it will make the car jolt," she said. "Another well-known fact is that this particular area has been problematic for our young/teenage drivers, as complaints have been made to the police department by nearby residents throughout the years, yet the town/police department have done nothing to correct the issue."
The day after the accident, police did comment on the "Radburn bump."
"We have had past incidents at the Howard Avenue pedestrian tunnel," Sergeant Brian Metzler said. "Driving over the ‘bump’ at a high speed can propel a vehicle airborne and many local residents are aware of the bump. The bump is so much more pronounced than a regular speed bump, [so] extra care needs to be made when driving over it.
"We have not had any recent reports or complaints of speeding on Howard Avenue but I’m sure there is a speeding problem there as there is in many parts of the borough," Metzler said.
Rosa said she will make residents aware of the dangers of the bump.
"I will do my best to make sure that my nephew’s accident is the last one that occurs at this NEGLIGENT site by the City of Fair Lawn," she said.
Police could not be immediately reached for further comment.