Pregnant Woman Injured by Alleged Reckless Driver
Hamburg woman suffered head trauma, crawled out from smashed vehicle after being struck from behind on Route 94 South.
A pregnant woman was seriously injured Saturday afternoon after Sparta police said her vehicle was struck on Route 94 South.
The driver of the car police said struck her SUV faces reckless driving charges as the 26-year-old Hamburg woman, who is five months pregnant, was transported to the hospital.
After being struck from behind while driving south along on the highway just north of the Homestead Restaurant, the SUV driven by Caitlin A. Kearny, was pushed into a utility pole, which snapped in half, and then into a stone retaining wall at a nearby residence.
Police said the driver who apparently struck her from behind, Timothy Maniscalco, 24, of Lafayette, is facing numerous motor vehicle charges as well as criminal charges. The investigation is continuing and complaints will be filed within the week, said Sparta Police Sgt. John-Paul Beebe.
Police said they were alerted to the 12:11 p.m. accident by multiple 9-1-1 calls.
Based on eyewitness accounts and evidence at the scene, Ptl. Adam Carbery, lead investigator, said that Kearny was driving alone in her 2011 Toyota Rav 4 Unlimited when she was struck from behind by a reportedly speeding vehicle driven by Maniscalco. According to police, Maniscalco was operating a 2008 Chevrolet Cobalt and also heading south, while allegedly driving "in an extremely reckless manner," witnesses allegedly told police.
Witnesses reportedly told police that Maniscalco was seen to have been traveling at a high rate of speed through nearby Hardyston Township and passing numerous vehicles across double yellow lines, and also passing vehicles on the right, Beebe said. As he entered into Sparta, he allegedly increased his rate of speed until he came up behind the Kearney vehicle, according to police.
Maniscalco’s vehicle then apparently struck Kearny's vehicle on the rear left side, sending it into the utility police, which was snapped in half, before it hit and came to rest against a retaining wall off the road, according to the police report. Both vehicles were extensively damaged, with Maniscalco’s vehicle disabled and landing in a way to block the southbound lane.
When officers arrived on scene, they found that Kearny had managed to crawl out of her vehicle and was lying on the ground next to the driver’s door, the police report said. Police said she was injured with blunt trauma to her head and torso, but was conscious while she was transported to Morristown Medical Center.
Beebe said inclement weather prevented her from being taken to the hospital by a Medevac helilcopter and she was transported instead under the care of the Sparta First Aid Squad and paramedics from St. Clare's Health Center in Sussex.
Sparta police said her condition was unknown as of late Saturday afternoon. Morristown Medical Center said no one under the name of Caitlin Kearny was listed at the hospital as of 7 p.m. Saturday.
Police said Maniscalco was also transported by the Sparta First Aid Squad to Newton Memorial Hospital for treatment of injuries that were not life-threatening, including a possible fractured arm.
Route 94 was closed for more than four hours between West Mountain Road and Old Prospect Road as the accident was investigated and repairs made to the utility pole, according to police.
The Sparta Police Department's certified accident re-constructionists, Ptl. Jeffrey McCarrick and Brian Hassloch, are continuing to reconstruct the accident, police said. Sparta Det. Terrence Mulligan is investigating the criminal aspect of the case, according to Beebe.