PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - The vehicle carrying New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine was traveling at 91 mph (146 kph), almost 30 miles over the speed limit, just before it crashed last week, seriously injuring him, state police said on Tuesday.
The sport utility vehicle driven by a state trooper was traveling in the left lane of the Garden State Parkway with its emergency lights on when it was hit by a white pickup truck, according to a statement by the New Jersey State Police.
The pickup truck had swerved to avoid another vehicle that had moved to avoid hitting a mile marker near the edge of the roadway, the statement said. Both vehicles had moved to the right as the governor’s vehicle approached.
Corzine’s vehicle crashed into a guide rail on the center median of the highway.
“All investigative data points to a speed of approximately 91 mph five seconds before impact with the guide rail,” the statement said. “The vehicle’s speed at the time of the impact with the guide rail was approximately 30 mph.”
On the evening of the crash last Thursday, Col. Rick Fuentes, superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, told a news conference that speed did not play a role in the incident. The speed limit on that section of the Parkway is 65 mph (105 kph).
Corzine was not wearing a seat belt, the statement said, confirming earlier statements by Corzine’s officials.
Fuentes said officials would review the accident report, and determine whether the incident was preventable. If so, Corzine’s driver could be disciplined, the statement said.
Corzine was on his way to chair a meeting between the Rutgers women’s basketball team and radio host Don Imus after Imus used a racist and sexist slur against the players on the air.
Corzine broke his left leg, collarbone, sternum and a dozen ribs in the accident. He has had three surgeries and is in Cooper University Hospital in Camden, New Jersey, where his condition is critical but stable, according to a statement from his office at on Tuesday night.
The governor is still breathing through a ventilator and cannot talk but is able to respond to questions by nodding, said the statement.