A State of Imus Urgency


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.