CRANBURY, NJ – Dining alfresco took a dangerous turn Saturday night, when a pickup truck veered across North Main Street and up onto the sidewalk in front of Cranbury Pizza, striking several patrons of the restaurant, including two young children.
According to a police press release, Keith Maluchnick, 46, of East Brunswick, was operating a gray, 1993 Ford F-250 pickup truck while traveling west on Park Place East. For reasons still unknown, Maluchnick failed to or was unable to stop at the intersection with North Main Street, police said.
As he entered the intersection, Maluchnick's pickup struck the left rear of a blue, 2006 Chevrolet Trailblazer operated by Nicole Lesniak, 38, of East Windsor, police said.
Following the initial impact with the Trailblazer, Maluchnick's pickup continued traveling across the south bound lane of North Main Street and up onto the sidewalk in front of Cranbury Pizza, where it came to what police described as an “uncontrolled” stop after striking several tables, diners and, finally, the building itself.
The incident occurred at approximately 7:40 p.m., according to the release.
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.
According to police, a cause leading up to the crash has yet to be determined, however, both driver impairment and speed have been ruled out.
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),” Chief of Police Rickey Varga said. “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.”
Citing the ongoing investigation, Mayor Jay Taylor declined to comment on the incident, but said that the Township Committee is always concerned about pedestrian safety.
Plainsboro Township Police, Cranbury Volunteer Fire Company and Monroe Township Emergency Medical Services also responded and assisted Cranbury Police at the scene, according to the release.
Any witnesses are asked to contact the Cranbury Township Police Traffic Safety Bureau or Detective Bureau at (609) 395-0031.
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