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A State of Imus Urgency

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Radley may have been too quick to assume that Don Imus will disappear from the news in the coming week, given today's revelation that the former talk radio host nearly killed New Jersey's governor:

In the seconds before Gov. Jon S. Corzine was critically injured in an accident last Thursday, the Chevrolet Suburban he was riding in was traveling 91 miles per hour, 26 m.p.h. over the posted speed limit, according to a crash data recorder retrieved from the vehicle.

The superintendent of the state police, Col. Joseph R. Fuentes, said Tuesday that the trooper driving the vehicle, Robert J. Rasinski, had told investigators that he did not know how fast he was traveling as he led Mr. Corzine's two-car caravan, emergency lights flashing, from an Atlantic City speech to a meeting at the governor's mansion in Princeton.

But the recorder clocked the speed at 91 m.p.h. five seconds before the Suburban collided with a white pickup truck, and at 30 m.p.h. when it slammed into a guardrail along the shoulder of the Garden State Parkway, the police said.

Mr. Corzine, who was not wearing a seat belt, was thrown from the front passenger seat to the back, breaking his thigh bone in two places, a dozen ribs, his breastbone and collarbone and a lower vertebra. He remains in critical condition and on a ventilator after three operations on his leg.

Colonel Fuentes said that troopers who drive the governor and other state officials are given discretion to use the emergency lights and exceed the speed limit in cases of an emergency and, because of security concerns, are advised not to let the governor's vehicle remain "bogged down in a traffic jam." But "if it's a nonemergency situation, we would ask them to obey the traffic laws and the speed laws," Colonel Fuentes said in a late-afternoon conference call with reporters.

The governor was en route to a meeting with Don Imus and members of the Rutgers women's basketball team.

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  1. Mr. Corzine, who was not wearing a seat belt…

    Politician, legislate thyself.

  2. Heh, heh–I thought you were going to say that he was blaming Imus because he had the accident when he heard Imus’ remarks. That would’ve been funny.

  3. the trooper driving the vehicle, Robert J. Rasinski

    Great. Wait until Imus finds out the driver was polish. We’ll never hear the end of it.

  4. I really don’t mean this is a flip way, and I wish the governor well, but driving in New Jersey is an absolute horror. I know its a little trite (ha ha, let’s all make fun of New Jersey), but seriously, driving in N.Jersey is unsafe at any speed.

  5. No one deserves to be killed or injured and I feel bad for the guy. But, this really is a case of political privilege and arrogance coming home to roost. The governor of New Jersey is not the President. It is not like he was getting back to his office to get the nuke launch codes or something. He was going back to a political meeting to grandstand and demagogue over the issue de jour. But, he was governor and the rules don’t apply to him. So, therefore rather than live by the posted speed limit like the rest of us mortals, he got to drive 90 and not wear his seatbelt.

    Also, where the hell does he get off putting other people in danger like that? How many times are innocent people killed by cops in high speed chases? At least the cops have a reason to be going that fast. Courzine feels that it is okay to put other people in danger to keep anything between him and camera. Not that he is any different or worse than most other politicians, but I think this incident shows how our political class really considers itself above the rest of us and exempt from normal standards of behavior. All I can say is thank heavens none of the peasants got in the way or got hurt.

  6. I really don’t mean this is a flip way, and I wish the governor well, but driving in New Jersey is an absolute horror.

    I dunno dude…I lived in Jersey for over a year and drove everywhere. I never felt unsafe at any point. They seemed no worse than what I have encountered in Chicago (although one thing I noticed in both Jersey and the Philly area is that even a hint of snow and these people panic and drive super-defensively on their way to the market to stock up on bottled water and loaves of bread. It’s really weird)

    To me the worst part about driving in Jersey is that the fucking troopers are EVERYWHERE. I haven’t had a ticket in Illinois since I was 16 — one year in Jersey and I got pinched 3 fucking times. MotherBithces!

  7. Lamar,

    I agree with Chicago Tom. I don’t think the Jersey roads are that bad. Go to Atlanta or Houston some time. That is taking your life into your own hands.

  8. Ordinarily I’d say a horrific auto accident involving a governor who was speeding to a photo op for craven and cynical political points might just be poetic justice, but…nah, it is poetic justice. Except the leg breaking in two places and sticking through the skin and all the other stuff. That had to hurt. Let’s hope his secretary learns from this and better manages his schedule next time there’s a Racial Public Relations Emergency (RPRE).

  9. The governor of New Jersey is not the President

    Well he is kind of the President of the state.

    He was going back to a political meeting to grandstand and demagogue over the issue de jour. But, he was governor and the rules don’t apply to him. So, therefore rather than live by the posted speed limit like the rest of us mortals, he got to drive 90

    Well since he wasn’t actually driving the vehicle — a trooper was — maybe some of this anger should be directed toward the trooper?

    So people in a position of power think the rules don’t apply to them?? I’m Shocked! SHOCHED!!! I can tell you that here in Illinois, I NEVER see a state trooper going above the posted speed limits on our highways when not on “official business”. EVER!

    Personally, I’m most offended of the fact that he didn’t get a ticket for not wearing a seatbelt. That pisses me off to no end. (Fucking Jersey troopers tagged me with 2 seatbeslt tix in the above mentioned year as well)

  10. “Well since he wasn’t actually driving the vehicle — a trooper was — maybe some of this anger should be directed toward the trooper?”

    Maybe. Somehow I doubt that the trooper was driving that fast because he felt like it. I bet that was SOP for anytime they drove the good Governor. I bet it was, turn the lights on and get our asses to where we are going as quickly as possible. I could be wrong, but I bet that them going 90MPH with the lights on weaving in and out of traffic is just the way the governor travels. Moreover, who is in charge? Is it too much to expect him to tell his troopers to slow down before they get someone killed?

  11. Take that, New Jersey!

  12. John, ChicagoTom: I’ve been to Chicago and Houston, all on motorcycle. Those places have a lot of congestion, but in Jersey people don’t signal, pay attention, or observe basic rules (let’s not talk about unwritten rules). Perhaps the motorcycle vantage point drives the point home. Atlanta seems to have the worst traffic, but as far as people being clueless to the world around them, my vote is still for Jersey.

  13. Lamar,

    I currently live in Atlanta and ride a motorcycle here frequently and frankly the people here scare the hell out of me worse than Texas or anywhere i have been. I drive consistently 70 or 75 but am constantly passed by people paying absolutely no attention to what they are doing. Maybe Jersey is worse but God Atlanta is the scariest place to drive I have ever seen.

  14. Massachuseets drivers have absolutely no problem with signaling.

    Which is not to say they use their blinkers…

  15. At least one news report said the accident was caused when one vehicle had to swerve out of the way when he saw the flashing lights and the Gov’s vehicle approaching fast from the rear. We all try to get over when an ambulance or fire truck approaches, but just what was the Gov. going to add to a meeting between Rutgers and Imus?

  16. Joe my wife is from Boston and I always heard the stories about Mass drivers and I don’t think they are that bad. Maybe they were once but the rest of the country has caught up. The only place in Boston that really scares me is Rout 1 on the North Shore where everyone drives 80, yet there are no exit or on ramps and the driveways dump right onto the highway. That I think might be the scariest road in America.

  17. Although I hope the man is okay…
    a) New Jersey sucks.
    b) The here-we-go-again of politicians’ “do as we tell you…don’t expect us to” is getting old. Philadelphia city council’s notorious scofflaw behavior comes to mind.
    c) New Jersey sucks.
    d) New Jersey sucks.

  18. …and I’ve never experienced anything in my life as atrocious as Austin, Texas drivers.

  19. I’ve lived or driven in NJ, NYC, Boston, NoCal, and the upper midwest. IMO, Boston takes the cake for erratic behavior and making up rules as you go along. Not only that, but Boston drivers will give YOU a dirty look while they cut you off.

  20. Kiss her where it smells – take her to New Jersey!

  21. “…according to a crash data recorder retrieved from the vehicle…”

    Want to bet that now we’ll start hearing that perhaps those vehicle data recorders aren’t really necessary?

    Mike

  22. Old news. Move on, once the media got a real story (VA Tech) they moved on as well.

  23. Massachusetts drivers are a-holes, but at least they’re good at it. That makes us predictable, which increses safety.

    You never have to ask yourself, is that guy going to let me in? Of COURSE he’s not going to let you in! But three cars are going to run the red light after it changes – not two, not four, three – so you can pull out while they’re blocking the intersection.

    The system worketh.

  24. I am not going to bitch about speed. I have been known to drive down the interstate at ninety miles per hour, and I don’t even have an armor-plated Suburban with a light bar on it.
    I am going to bitch about a “highly trained” state cop chauffeur who isn’t looking far enough down the road to see this situation developing. Did he have the cruise control on? Has he been cited for careless or inattentive diving? Has he been cited for the fact that Corzine was not wearing a seat belt? Will he lose his job over this?

  25. And, in case your irony meter hasn’t pegged out yet, Corzine (yeah, the one without the seat belt) was big on forcing states to stiffen their seat belt laws when he was in the Senate.

    Colonel Fuentes said that troopers who drive the governor and other state officials are given discretion to use the emergency lights and exceed the speed limit in cases of an emergency

    Gosh, I wonder if I have the same discretion.

  26. RC Dean: Can I assume that we’re both supporters of private contracts? I’m free, even encouraged, to break contracts when it is in my interest. Since there’s no jail time involved, can’t we say similarly that one can support seat-belt laws while choosing at times not to wear one (so long as one is willing to pay the consequences)?

  27. The trooper “doesn’t remember” how fast he was going. I’m going to use that alibi next time I’m pulled over. I’m quite certain the road cop will be sensitive to my memory loss.

  28. Until all you pansies have driven in the Middle East, y’all just clam up. Just couple an “insh’allah” fatalism with an “it’s all about me” attitude and 90% timted windows, imagine the results.

    Driving the Jersey Turnpike or Cross-Bronx or MoPac or Kennedy is a pleasure by comparison.

  29. Col. Fuentes is full of it. No cop in NJ drives the speed limit. That statement surely got some guffaws from any cop listening.

  30. “Massachuseets drivers have absolutely no problem with signaling.

    Which is not to say they use their blinkers…”

    And explains why we Nutmeggers call ’em Massholes.

  31. Until all you pansies have driven in the Middle East, y’all just clam up. Just couple an “insh’allah” fatalism with an “it’s all about me” attitude and 90% timted windows, imagine the results.

    I was going to add a comment about these pansies hadn’t seen anything until they had driven in Quebec, but since my brother has said the same things about driving in the ME I’ll agree you’re probably right.

    Here’s a tip from his experiences: DO NOT EVER get in an injury accident in Saudi Arabia. You won’t like the results.

  32. I think everyone assumes the traffic in their locale is the worst, just like everyone assumes the weather in their locale is the most unpredictable.

  33. “””So, therefore rather than live by the posted speed limit like the rest of us mortals, he got to drive 90 and not wear his seatbelt.”””

    That’s bold to assume the rest of us drive the speed limit. Which is also wrong. Everytime I’ve been down the NY Turnpike I’m driving about 80 mph and I’m passed constantly, some passing me like I’m driving real slow.

    I’m guessing that relative to the traffic around them, the Gov’s vehicle was not traveling that much faster.

    Of course, we should obey the law. 🙂

  34. You think you have problems on your roadways. Try Florida where all the people from all those “bad driving” states come to vacation / retire / live. All your bad drivers are belong to us.

  35. The highest and mightest always have the farthest to fall. Typical case of Overlord’s rules not applying to themselves only the underlings he tends to.

    I wonder what percentage of those preaching against something are actually the biggest offenders of that which they preach against?

  36. “I wonder what percentage of those preaching against something are actually the biggest offenders of that which they preach against?”

    close to 110%, prob’ly.

  37. The middle east doesn’t count. Yes, there is nothing in the US like it. There is no way to fully appreciate it or understand it without experiencing it. Anytime anyone says “such and such place has the worst drivers and is the most scary place to drive” it is always said that whatever place is being referred to is nothing like the middle east. It just goes without saying that the scariest most dangerous place on earth to drive is the middle east.

  38. Tricky Vic,

    When you speed you run the risk of getting a large ticket and in New Jersey at least having your insurance company drop you. The good governor not so much. The rules do apply to you it is just that there isn’t always someone around to apply them. The rules don’t apply to the governor ever apparently.

  39. “I think everyone assumes the traffic in their locale is the worst, just like everyone assumes the weather in their locale is the most unpredictable.”

    Yeah. Driving in any major city is going to have it’s perils. I grew up and learned to drive in the LA area where traffic is horrendous and drivers are very aggressive and routinely speed. But LA drivers are somewhat predictable. If there is enough space between you and the car in front of you, someone is moving in without signaling. If an exit is coming up, someone is cutting across four lanes of traffic at the last minute to make it. No one ever lets you in, you just have to go for it and people expect you to.

    I found in New Jersey and New York that road conditions were much worse and signange tended to be really illogical and confusing. On the other hand, speed limits in the east are much lower and the police actually enforce them. Dealing with taxicabs and constant double parked cars and obstructions on the streets of Manhattan was the worst that I found in that part of the country. The Jersey TP was a treat comparatively.

  40. John,

    The rules don’t apply to the governor ever apparently.

    Except for the rules of physics!

    /Thank-you, I’ll be here all week. Try the veal.

  41. Since there’s no jail time involved, can’t we say similarly that one can support seat-belt laws while choosing at times not to wear one (so long as one is willing to pay the consequences)?

    No, you can’t. If you don’t wear a seat belt yourself, you have no business telling other people to wear them or face the legal consequences.

    Every law has potential jail time attached. Its what happens when you refuse to pay the fine.

  42. “The middle east doesn’t count. Yes, there is nothing in the US like it. There is no way to fully appreciate it or understand it without experiencing it.”

    Never been to that part of the world. In my limited international traveling experience I have found that almost everywhere else has worse driving conditions than here. In places like SE Asia and Central America it seems that there are no traffic rules at all and even being a passenger in a cab put me on edge.

    I think driving in a lot of the developing world is much more a Darwinian struggle for survival of the fittest than anything you find here.

  43. It just goes without saying that the scariest most dangerous place on earth to drive is the middle east.

    Some years ago I read that Iran had/has a special group of folks whose job was to go around each morning and pick up the human roadkill off the streets. Probably not true, but maybe not far off?

  44. “Never been to that part of the world. In my limited international traveling experience I have found that almost everywhere else has worse driving conditions than here.”

    Except for Germany. The Germans if nothing else know how to follow rules. You never see a truck in the left lane. Slower traffic always stays right so that the left lane is clear for people to get by. In my entire year in Germany I never once saw someone weaving in and out of traffic or tailgating at 80MPH or any of the other stupid jackass things that Americans love to do.

  45. “If you don’t wear a seat belt yourself, you have no business telling other people to wear them or face the legal consequences.”

    Huh? You just restated what you said before without responding to my point. I established that, at least in one area of law, it is perfectly acceptable, even encouraged, to support a legal requirement while reneging on the legal requirement when it doesn’t suit you.

  46. The governor was en route to a meeting with Don Imus and members of the Rutgers women’s basketball team.

    It involves race. It’s an emergency.

  47. “Ordinarily I’d say a horrific auto accident involving a governor who was speeding to a photo op ”

    playing the race card without race car. that’ll get you every time…

  48. From John, Except for Germany

    Ah, I was wondering if someone would eventually mention the absolute joy that it is to drive in Germany. I was only there for two weeks, but loved the driving experience immensely. The autobahn is really a total-immersion experience and one of the closest times I’ll ever come to satori. Part of the reason for it, is I never saw another driver eat, fiddle with the radio, or do anything but wholly concentrate on driving whilst they were on the autobahn.

    It’s a unique environment and one I cannot recommend highly enough if you are an automobile enthusiast.

  49. I established that, at least in one area of law, it is perfectly acceptable, even encouraged, to support a legal requirement while reneging on the legal requirement when it doesn’t suit you.

    Huh? That doesn’t respond to my point. WHich is that

    Every law has potential jail time attached. Its what happens when you refuse to pay the fine.

    Not to mention that

    If you don’t wear a seat belt yourself, you have no business telling other people to wear them or face the legal consequences.

    regardless of whether those legal consequences are a fine or a stay in the local hoosegow.

  50. It’s a unique environment and one I cannot recommend highly enough if you are an automobile enthusiast.

    I loved it. It took me about an hour to adapt – you have to be much more aware of what’s going on around you, but once you get dialed in, its great.

  51. In my entire year in Germany I never once saw someone weaving in and out of traffic or tailgating at 80MPH or any of the other stupid jackass things that Americans love to do.

    That’s partially because, since there’s no speed limit on the Autobahn, those things are far more strictly enforced than in the US. I’d be interested to see the rates of ticketing for speeding vs. the dangerous behaviors you cite above in the US; in my opinion, speeding is only dangerous if you drive unsafely otherwise (e.g., tailgating, weaving in and out of traffic, not signaling, etc.). Part of that is sour grapes because I think I drive safely other than speeding (but then, who doesn’t?), but I get tickets for speeding when these other jerks around me, driving like maniacs, don’t. I’ve even gotten a citation for having expired tags recently, and that really pissed me off. I seem to be a ticket magnet, and I drive slower than most of the people around here.

    […]because of security concerns, [they] are advised not to let the governor’s vehicle remain “bogged down in a traffic jam.”

    Security concerns? Security concerns?!? Really? You’re a state governor. You’re not the fucking president. Mr. Corzine, you’re not so important that anyone wants to assassinate you. Even if they did, it’s not worth endangering the lives of civilians just to save yours.

    Come to think of it, the same can be said for the president. Why endanger the lives of civilians in a high-speed escape? The president is, in the end, no more important than any of us; why does he get exemption from the law for endangerment? I know the answer; I just don’t think that the answer is correct. 🙂

  52. The rules don’t apply to the governor ever apparently.

    Except for the rules of physics!

    Actually, I’m not even sure of that. How did the governor get thrown backward as a result of this collision? Was he rear-ended by a car doing 150?

  53. Gray Ghost, et al. Sssshhhhhh about how great it is to drive on Germany. If the word gets out, there’ll be a bunch of Americans over there and it will be like driving here….

    CB

  54. RC Dean: (1) you said Corzine can’t tell people to follow a legal requirement that he himself doesn’t follow. (2) I provided a counter-example with contracts. (3) Jail time is irrelevant, forget I said it. It is a remote possibility in both circumstances and therefore not an argument. (4) You’ve repeated your original non-argument yet again. (5) You are likely aware that people get arrested for driving on the expired license, a separate offense from failing to pay the speeding ticket.

    What gives? You’re usually (slightly) better than this.

  55. I wonder if his medical bills are being paid by work comp? The insurance could save a lot of money denying coverage as he wasnt following all safety rules. In typical work comp claims the injured party as well as all employees covered that are involved are drug and alcohol tested. I am curious if these rules are in place in N.J. and if they were followed?

  56. I drove a tractor-trailer for years in every state west of Ohio and south of South Carolina.
    In my experience, the best big city to drive in was L.A. The traffic was real heavy all the time, but the drivers in cars were for the most part aware of trucks and would let me do what I needed to do once I signaled my intention.Yes Im talkin about the whole Los Angeles basin.
    I always wondered if good driving was a cultural/ social requirement there.
    I-5 Portland to Seattle including the cities was my least favorite.

  57. “””When you speed you run the risk of getting a large ticket and in New Jersey at least having your insurance company drop you. The good governor not so much. The rules do apply to you it is just that there isn’t always someone around to apply them. The rules don’t apply to the governor ever apparently.””””

    The good governor wasn’t driving so I wouldn’t expect him to be ticketed for speeding. Seat belt? Maybe, but I saw someone from the State Police say they don’t ticket for seat belts during an accident. I don’t know that true, but if it is I would expect to let him slide. As for the State Trooper, that remains to be seen. If he was violating the rules and yes, his rules are different than ours, he may be held accountable to those rules. Maybe not. It will be interesting to see the outcome.

    If I were a betting man, which I’m not, I’d bet the officer driving gets a small slap on the wrist, and Corzine will pay the seatbelt ticket sitting in his wheelchair in a media spectacle showing the state why you should wear your seatbelt, and that you’ll pay a fine for not doing so. What’s 47 bucks him? I think it would be a great move politically.

  58. SERIOUSLY. I hope Corzine lives and recovers fully…so I can tell him to go fuck himself.

    Important people constantly lecture us about how the citizenry is too dumb to have high speeding limits and therefore every inane, infantilizing measure is jusified; all of this is for your safety. Then they just flout the law. And no one cares, b/c if he did get pulled over, no one would ticket the Governor.

    Seriously, I want a full recovery. I want him to be pain-free and playing with his grandkids. So that then I can pull him aside and tell him he’s a douche-and-a-half

  59. Why does everyone care about Imus so much, anyway? I know he’s a big star in NY, but outside of a quite-limited span, was widely considered a huge jackass.

    He looks like a crap I took this one time…

  60. what goes around – comes around

  61. Yes Im talkin about the whole Los Angeles basin. I always wondered if good driving was a cultural/ social requirement there.

    Brotherben, I would suggest that driving a tractor-trailer at (presumably) tractor-trailer speeds, your experience with L.A. traffic is distinctly different from mine. In my experience driving a car in L.A., California drivers tend to exist in a state of sheer panic, frantically changing lanes and swerving all about, until they’ve finally maneuvered themselves into the far left lane. Once there, they calm down and cruise along at about 10 miles an hour under the posted speed limit. Whole groups of them will form in the left lane, and each member seems to find comfort traveling amongst the herd. They will not move out of that lane for anything. If you come up behind one of them (or, worse, a group of them), your only recourse is to pass on the right. Fortunately, they’re so terrified of the right lane that no matter how thick traffic is almost no one uses it. Eventually, when their exit comes up, they frantically swerve across 3 or 4 or 8 lanes of traffic in a mad last-second dash for the off-ramp. Drive on any L.A. highway at 2 in the morning and you will see several lanes completely free of cars and a traffic-jam in the left lane. It’s comical. Until I moved here, I never understood why California had so mnay people shooting at each other on the highway.

    California could save billions of highway expansion dollars by convincing people to use the left lane for passing only, a la the Autobahn, and thereby greatly alleviate congestion. I’m surprised the greenies don’t take up this cause to help reduce oil comsumption and pollution.

    That said, the worst traffic is definitely in D.C.

  62. What John said, way up there.

  63. m.e. driving: i think it was pj o’rourke who wrote that a car’s horn is known as “the egyptian brake pedal.”

    my scariest driving experience was as a passenger in a cab in qingdao. sort of like “the french connection” in slow motion.

  64. any chance we can get some more governors to sign up for this ride?

  65. or some senators/representatives/media whores…or anyone who I don’t approve of?

  66. chucklehead
    …and why we Massholes call you Nutmeggers fucking retards…

  67. ah yes Physics makes us all equals for sure.

    as for paying a fine in a wheelchair for PR footage I think it would show more of what a true dumbass he is and how he likely is not the best choice to be making laws anytime soon.

    Having no recollection of the governers size I will just put him at 200 lbs.

    Thus we have the following problem

    A gov is in a SUV headed West at 91 mph when suddenly the SUV stops yet the honorable and admirable continues to travel at 91 mph till contacting a greater mass of opposing force. How many foot pounds of energy did the high and all mighty impact impart on himself for failing to wear the stop restricter strap?

    200(7000)= 1400000 grains
    91(5283)= 480753/60= 8012/60= 133 fps

    133*133*1400000= 24764600000/450240= ~53000 Ft lbs Energy

    NOW THAT is a POWERFUL politician lol

  68. People have been complaining for years, thru several administrations, about NJ governors’ motorcades — how they speed & hog the road.

    The story I heard about this accident is that it happened when a driver tried to let them pass by moving onto the inside shoulder. The state trooper following got confused, thought the road went that way and followed that car onto the shoulder, then swerved back and hit the next car in the motorcade.

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