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New Brunswick Fire Director Who Struck Kids Has Been In 19 Car Accidents Since 2002

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – Authorities have ticketed New Brunswick’s fire director after he hit three children who were crossing the street after school.  Meanwhile, details about Rawls’ driving records have emerged, leaving some questioning why he was allowed behind the wheel, CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider reported.

A spokeswoman for the city said Robert Rawls received summonses for careless driving and failure to stop for a pedestrian in a crosswalk. The tickets are motor vehicle violations, and Rawls is not charged with a crime.

Authorities say Rawls was on duty and in a city-owned SUV when he struck two 14-year-old girls and a 6-year-old boy on Livingston Avenue on Tuesday.

According to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, Rawls has been involved in 19 accidents, most of them since 2002. His license was suspended 18 times between 1985 and 1994. And nine times from 1977 to 2008, he was ticketed and didn’t fight them — including five speeding violations.

Community activist Tormell Pittman is appalled the city of New Brunswick allowed Rawls to be out on the road in a city car.

“He was a director,” said Tormell Pittman. “Someone should have red-flagged this.

“He was driving a city-issued vehicle. It’s not like it was his personal car. They gave him permission to drive with that type of record.”

CBS 2 knocked on the door of Rawls’ New Brunswich home Friday, but there was no answer.

A crossing guard who was on duty Friday a block away from where the accident happened had some stern words for Rawls.

“This is the way I see it: You work for the Fire Department. You are supposed to save lives, not take away lives,” said Jacqueline Soto.

Cellphone video taken moments after the accident shows witnesses running to help the three victims, who were all hit as they were walking home from school.

The children were all hospitalized. Rawls remained at the scene and was taken to a hospital for an undisclosed evaluation.

Mayor James Cahill said the crossing guard normally assigned to that post had resigned on April 8. He said they’ve been training a replacement, but that no police officer was free on Tuesday to fill in.

The Middlesex County prosecutor’s office is investigating the accident.

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