FLEMINGTON – Last year was a banner year for Flemington in one respect, and Police Chief George Becker isn’t happy about it.
He told Borough Council that there was a spike in pedestrian/motor vehicle accidents in 2015, and that “usually we don’t have any” such accidents in the borough.
Becker said he’s working with HART, formerly known as Hunterdon Area Rural Transit – and that HART will undertake an “eight-week process” in the spring to address his safety concerns.
Police records reveal a total of eight such pedestrian incidents last year and that overall, drivers and pedestrians were about equally at fault.
All of the accident details and charges in this article come from police reports.
- The year’s first incident happened around 3:15 p.m. on March 6 at Route 31 south and the traffic light with Church Street. William M. Canady, Jr., 23, of Clinton, and Jonathan Acero, also 23, of Ringoes, were each driving southbound on the state highway when New Jersey State Police Trooper Michael Guenther witnessed what Flemington police called an apparent “aggressive incident.” When Acero got out of his car, his foot was run over by the front left tire of Canady’s 2010 Mini Cooper. Acero was later charged by State Police with harassment.
- Around 4:20 p.m. March 12, Jeffrey Person, 46, of Flemington stopped in front of Planet Fitness in the Hunterdon Shopping Center on Reaville Avenue to let passenger Karen Sarnowski, 49, of Three Bridges, out of the car. When she reached to grab her gym bag out from the car, Person’s vehicle –which was not in park – ran over her foot. He was charged with failure to yield to a pedestrian.
- On Sept. 22 there were two separate accidents. Around 2:15 p.m. Steven Migliori, 29, of Hillsborough, was driving a 2015 Nissan Altima when he turned right on a red light from Church Street on to Route 31 south. The Nissan hit Danielle Krivoshik, 17, of Ringoes, in the intersection, who suffered cuts on her hand and was taken to Hunterdon Medical Center for treatment. Migliori was charged with careless driving and failure to yield to a pedestrian.
- Around 4:50 p.m. Joyce Corboy, 75, of Ringoes, was driving a 2008 Lexus RX. When she turned left from Church Street on to Main Street, the Lexus hit Susan Stranzenbach, 53, of Hillsborough, who was in the crosswalk. Stranzenbach fell and had pain in her right hip and shoulder; Corboy was charged with careless driving.
- Stephen Karpew, Jr., 42, of Flemington, wasn’t speeding in the 2010 Hyundai Elantra as he was driving south on North Nain Street when the car hit Erin Buckley, 18, of Flemington, as Buckley was crossing the street. Police said Buckley was wearing dark pants and a dark hooded shirt and that Karpew couldn’t stop in time to avoid the accident. No charges were filed.
- In November, Anastasia Vonthaden, 22, of Flemington, was driving a 2009 Toyota Corolla when she went through a green light at the intersection of Church and Broad streets. After yielding to traffic, she turned left onto Broad Street and hit John Hansen, 66, also of Flemington. Even though she had a green light, she was charged with failure to yield to a pedestrian because Hansen is visually impaired and uses a red-tip cane, giving him the right of way. Police believe he was not seriously injured.
- On Dec. 15, there were two additional accidents. Around 1 p.m. Mary Fandel, 54, of Flemington was driving a 2014 Honda CRV and making a right turn on red from Route 31 north on to Church Street Extension. While looking left for oncoming traffic, she did not see Theodore Deptulski, 72, also of Flemington, who was in the crosswalk. When Deptulski saw the red flashing pedestrian signal indicating that he should not cross, he stepped back, but Fandel’s Honda ran over his right foot. He fell backwards and his head on the pavement.
- The last pedestrian accident of 2015 was also its only fatality. Around 10:25 p.m., Joseph Krupovich, 43, of Clarks Summit, Pa., was driving a 2008 GMC Yukon when the SUV struck James M. Traisert, 34, of Flemington, who was crossing the highway wearing dark clothing and who was not in the crosswalk. Krupovich tried to swerve to the left in an effort to prevent an accident, but couldn’t avoid him. An investigation into that incident remains open, according to Flemington Police Sgt. William Svard.
HART Executive Director Tara Shepherd said her agency’s safety awareness campaign will begin in March, and will focus on pedestrian safety. The agency has already compiled three years of borough records to help steer the campaign. The campaign won’t cost the borough anything, Shepherd said, because projects like this are “routine for us” and funded through HART’s annual budget, which is supported by the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority. She said records show that, “we’re not always talking about accidents on Main Street,” so the campaign will concentrate on the most troublesome areas, which are often on the outskirts of the borough.
This article relies on information provided by police and the subjects are presumed innocent. If notified of changes to the charges or their outcome, Tap into Flemington-Raritan will update this report.