JERSEY CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — An off-duty Jersey City Police officer was under investigation Tuesday night. He’s accused of causing an accident that killed an elderly woman in Bayonne.
CBS 2’s Pablo Guzman was on the scene earlier in the day when he was shown a Honda CRV that was rear-ended by a black car. Witnesses told police the black car had been speeding. Driving that car was off-duty Officer Rick Garrison. In the other car were a woman and her passenger, her 82-year-old mother, Helen Antczak, who was killed.
“The woman, the older lady, was laying back. You couldn’t tell how hurt she was,” witness Jack Kirnen said.
Kirnen lives across the street from the crash. He came running out when he heard the impact, and with two others, pulled Garrison out of the wreckage.
Kirnen said he had no idea he was helping a police officer.
“Not at all. Somebody was looking at the car and the car looked like it was going on fire. The people just went to help the guy, period,” Kirnen said.
The Hudson County prosecutor said Garrison was speeding for several blocks, hitting several parked and moving cars it’s alleged until the last car was hit and the woman was killed.
Officer Garrison is also a first vice president of the Jersey City Police Union. In a statement Jersey City Police Chief Tom Comey said: “I have been in contact with the lead agencies in the investigation. Once we get definitive answers the appropriate measures will be taken.”
The Hudson County prosecutor said the investigation is just beginning, but has already ruled out alcohol as a factor leading to the crash. It is too early to say if charges will be filed against the off-duty officer. But he must certainly be hearing what Guzman was hearing: that relatives of the dead woman and other witnesses are already wondering if anything will be covered up.
Before the fatal crash, a woman told police Garrison’s car clipped hers nine blocks earlier. She said he was going so fast, she turned into oncoming traffic to get out of his way.
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