Cresskill crossing guard struck by
Weehawken principal's car,
sun glare a possible factor,
BY DEENA YELLIN AND REBECCA D. O’BRIEN
February 10, 2012
TARIQ ZEHAWI / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Police investigate an accident scene after a crossing guard was struck
by a vehicle traveling eastbound on Grant Ave. at Brookside Ave. Friday
morning. The crossing guard was taken to the hospital with injuries.
— Sun glare could have been a factor in an accident where a crossing
guard was struck by a car — driven by a former councilman and current
principal of Weehawken High School — while at his post at Grant and
Brookside avenues Friday morning, authorities said.
Olivieri was driving his convertible Chrysler Sebring east on Grant
Avenue when he hit the crossing guard, Ned Visich, 74, of Dumont.
is unlikely that Olivieri, who remained at the scene of the accident,
will be charged, although the investigation is continuing, Police Chief
Ed Wrixon said.
Olivieri lives nearby and drives a similar route
every day, several parents and local residents said. Visich was wearing
a bright yellow reflective jacket, authorities said. A call to
Weehawken High School offices revealed that Olivieri did report to work
on Friday. He did not return calls seeking comment.
conscious at the scene but had suffered head trauma and other injuries
and was transported to Hackensack University Medical Center, Wrixon
said. His family asked Friday that medical information be kept private.
“He should be ok,” Wrixon said. “He’s a tough old guy and that will be on his side.”
the past four years, Visich has been joined at his post by fellow guard
Ginger Johnson. But Friday, Johnson was stationed down the road, at
Union and Piermont, because a crossing guard there had been in a car
accident on Monday.
“Look, a lot of people get the impression
that we are feeble-minded, the crossing guards,” Johnson said Friday
afternoon, as she commanded a herd of students across the treacherous
intersection. “Let me tell you something about Ned — he walks the
Tenafly track every day.”
A Cresskill police officer was stationed at Grant and Brookside when school got out Friday afternoon.
The accident occurred at about 8:15 a.m., less than two blocks from the Edward H. Bryan School.
driver didn’t see him evidently,” said Wrixon. “There’s no sign that
there was excessive speed involved. At that time there’s a bad sun
There are few statistics on how often sun glare factors into car accidents, but it can cause a blinding effect for drivers.
“This is a big safety issue and people need to be much more aware of it,” said Ralph Bouwmeester,
a civil engineer who founded a Canadian company specializing in how the
sun relates to development and traffic accidents. “Sun glare accounts
for many more accidents than we realize.”
He also cautioned that pedestrians should be just as cautious as drivers.
you are about to cross a street and the sun is behind you and traffic
is coming towards you, even if you can see just fine, the traffic
coming towards you might not.”
Little Ferry Police Chief Ralph
Verdi said he recalls a similar incident in 2010 in which sun glare
played a role in a crossing guard being hit by a van as he was helping
a man across a street. Joseph Dotterman, 73, was struck when the van’s
driver was apparently blinded by the sun, made a left turn and hit
Dotterman, said Verdi.
“It wasn’t reckless,:” Verdi said. “Sometimes, the sun hits you in the eyes in a certain angle and unfortunate things happen.”
corner where Visich was hit is difficult to navigate — Grant Avenue
slopes downhill toward Brookside, and the right turn toward the school
is partly obscured by a line of hedges.
Like many intersections in town, it is generally busy at that time of the morning, Wrixon said.
whole town gets crazy in the mornings,” he said. “To get from one town
to the other, you can only use two roads. It’s like an hourglass that
backs up a lot and bottlenecks.”
Lucy Gentile said she and her
son Max, age 10, saw Visich lying on the ground when they walked to the
Bryan school Friday morning.
“My son was very upset,” Gentile
said Friday afternoon, standing near the school with a group of other
mothers, many of whom expressed concern for Visich.
“He is just such an attentive, with-it guy,” Gentile said.
Kevin McGrath, the interim principal of Bryan School where Visich was based, called him “one of our best crossing guards.”
“I see him in the morning, he always waves,” he said. “Everybody knows him.”
Knospe, a fellow crossing guard, said Visich had been at the school for
six years. Choking back tears, even as he managed afternoon school
traffic, Knospe described Visich as a dear colleague, adored by
children and parents alike.
“He is a wonderful human being, and a very good friend,” Knospe said. “Never harmed anybody. He’s always there to help.”
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