NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The impact of a crash on Route 3 in Bergen County Thursday evening was so strong it sent a man on a motorcycle flying into the Passaic River.
That man, Jason Montoni, of Lyndhurst, spoke exclusively to CBS2’s Ilana Gold.
Montoni spent the night in the hospital and he’s got the bandages to prove it. He told Gold he is ‘just happy to be alive,’ is extremely sore and “I feel like I got beat up and fell off a bridge.”
Because that is exactly what happened.
Montoni, 29, was riding his motorcycle home from work on Route 3 in Rutherford at 7 p.m. when police said a car in front of him swerved and then hit him.
“I hit the car … the car pushed me off to the right,” Montoni told Gold.
Police and paramedics rushed to the scene after Montoni’s bike flew into the concrete barrier.
The impact was so strong he catapulted over it and plummeted 50 feet into the Passaic River, Gold reported.
“I had that feeling I was going over and I just closed my eyes and I just went with it,” Montoni said.
Gold: Did you think you were going to survive this?
Montoni: No, not at all.
When asked what was going through his mind, Montoni said he panicked.
“Right away all I did was panic. You’re drowning — it’s a terrible feeling,” he said. “I calmed myself down, took the helmet off and was able to make it to a pillar in the middle of the bridge and hang on until help came.”
Montoni said he refused to give up and held on to the pillar for 10 minutes, thinking about his family the entire time.
Montoni told Gold he was extremely relieved seeing the rescuers.
“It was a good feeling knowing I was going to get out of this.”
After being rescued, Montoni had an emotional reunion with his family.
“My mother passed away in a car accident. I knew it would be extremely tough for my grandmother to get the call that I was in an accident. I wanted to make it not just for myself, but for my family.”
This was Montoni’s first accident but it’s not going to stop him from getting on a bike again. Though he conceded he will be a little more cautious moving forward.
Montoni said there’s no chance of salvaging his bike and he’s already planning to buying a new one, Gold reported.
Rutherford police said the cause of the crash is still under investigation. The police chief said he’s never dealt with an accident scene quite like this one.