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Speeding Car Goes Airborne, Strikes Three Homes on Paterson Road

Several eyewitnesses claim the car was speeding in excess of 100 miles per hour with no attempts to slow down.

A speeding car hit the lawn of a home on the corner of Paterson Road and Hunter Avenue, launching it up a hill, airborne and over a driveway with two vehicles before striking another home and overturning when it struck a third home Friday morning in Fanwood.

Witnesses estimated the car, a BMW sedan, was traveling in excess of 100 miles per hour.

"He was going eastbound on Paterson Road, went up a hill on the lawn of the house on the corner of Paterson and Hunter Avenue, which launched him up and nearly over two parked cars, including a truck, in the driveway," Fanwood Police Chief Richard Trigo said. "He then slid across the lawn at the next house, 148 Paterson, before overturning, striking and stopping on the lawn of the final home at 152."

Trigo said the driver, a 47-year-old Plainfield man, was extricated and in and out of consciousness, but incredibly didn't appear to have any major visible injuries. No one else was injured and the residents of the third home were not home at the time of the crash. The Fanwood Fire Department removed the man using the jaws of life and he was taken to Robert Wood Johnson hospital.

Police are investigating how fast the car, a black BMW sedan, was traveling to have propelled it so far, and whether the driver was dealing with a medical issue.

Two eyewitnesses told Patch they believe the car was speeding in excess of 100 miles per hour. 

"It was the fastest vehicle I have ever seen in person," said Kathy Porter, who was reading a book and just thinking about how nice the day was on the porch of her home on Hunter Avenue. "It had to be going over 100 miles per hour. It came screaming through the intersection, hit the top of the first car and then went airborne. It was horrifying to watch. He was going so fast I expected to see police cars chasing behind, but there were none."

"His speed was incredible," said Cheryl Horgan, who was walking her dog down Paterson Road with her son Eli when the car came speeding past them. "I've never seen a car go that fast. I very clearly saw the man's face because his window was open. His eyes were wide open, focused on the road in front of him and he had both hands on the wheel. It looked like he was driving purposefully, with the intent to go as fast as he could. There are so many kids in this neighborhood and we are so fortunate no one was in his way, because he would have flattened anyone in his path."

Horgan also assumed the driver was being chased. 

"I just don't know why a person would be speeding that fast," she said. "He was clearly going to lose control. The crash sounded so loud, like a building collapsing." 

Lisa Voelker who lives adjacent to the first home struck, said the crash was so loud she thought it must have been a bigger vehicle with a trailer—a landscaping truck out of control, she thought at first.

"I was in my driveway and heard squealing, bumping around and then bam," Voelker said. "From what I can tell, the car never attempted to stop. I've lived here since 1986 and I've never seen anything like this." 
Fanwood Police, the Fanwood Fire Department, the Fanwood Rescue Squad and Plainfield Fire Department were on the scene.
bgporter July 12, 2013 at 01:49 PM
I always wondered what I'd need to do to get my picture in the Patch again. Not my best side, though.
bgporter July 12, 2013 at 01:52 PM
Also, correction: the house that got hit isn't 131 Paterson. That's my house. It's 152, I think.
Jessica Remo (Editor) July 12, 2013 at 01:55 PM
You're right BG - I will fix.
Jessica Remo (Editor) July 12, 2013 at 01:58 PM
And ha, I will be sure to take another angle next time!
tiredofspeeders July 12, 2013 at 04:24 PM
tired of people speeding on the side streets in this town. we have several well known speeding streets that this town does nothing about. They won't do anything until someone gets killed. Sad to see the surrounding towns address speeding issues but ours sit on there backsides and nothing is done.
Maria Seidel July 12, 2013 at 05:17 PM
@tiredofspeeders They very recently lowered many of the speed limits, haven't you noticed?? Having been away at college and coming back for the summer it was the first thing I noticed driving around. Also, apparently this summer in NJ police are giving out speeding tickets to anyone driving over 5mph. There have been a lot more pull-overs at night as well.
Maria Seidel July 12, 2013 at 05:18 PM
5mph over the speed limit**** Oops!
Caleb Cohen July 12, 2013 at 05:45 PM
@tiredofspeeders - this doesn't appear to be "speeding" in the sense of he was just trying to cut through town quickly. Something else was going on - medical or otherwise.
FormerFanwoodian July 12, 2013 at 08:41 PM
BG .... sorry to see your reason to post, but glad to see you back on the site. As per the 100mph statements, some of my former neighbors accused me of speeding on my street....when I was doing 25 safely. And per the Fanwood officer in the 1st picture, is he in better physical condition than he looks.
ReallyConcerned July 12, 2013 at 11:49 PM
I heard the whole thing.I live right across the street..I have to agree with Caleb..Thank you Caleb...I don't think "Intentional" speeding was the issue according to my neighbors.
tiredofspeeders July 13, 2013 at 11:06 AM
speeding is speeding. try living on King and Shady and you will see the constant speeding. Residential speed limit is 25. havent seen any change. Police cant be everywhere and we have very good police officers but the town can be aggressive on the street as other towns. speed bumps. Dead end the streets, three way stops, etc. it can be done if the town wants to. Wont happen until someone gets killed and they look to blame someone. been at town meetings and they dont address it at all.
tiredofspeeders July 13, 2013 at 11:12 AM
Try living on the streets they speed on. It goes on all day long.
Caleb Cohen July 13, 2013 at 11:29 AM
@tiredofspeeders - place some chalk lines on the road a measured distance apart, set up a video camera on your second floor and record traffic for a day or at rush hours. Do some math with the video time-stamps and bring the video and your data to a meeting. If you show them 40% of the cars driving down your street are going over 40 MPH in a 25-zone, you will get some action, trust me. When I lived in MI, the UPS & FedEx truck used to race through my cut-through street. Did the above, sent it to the district offices and both drivers ended up stopping and apologizing to me.
MR Justice July 13, 2013 at 02:00 PM
I have complained to Chief Trigo about this before. This guy need to go to jail for a long time. He is a sicko and i do not care what the reason is they need to take his car and license away forever. We do not need people like this in fanwood or in this country they are a burden on everyone. I am sure his mother will appear in the media and say that her son is such a good kid and give some BS excuse. If you do defend your son shame on you lady!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Caleb Cohen July 13, 2013 at 03:24 PM
@MR Justice - you talking about the guy who wrecked? A 47-year old male driving about 100 wrecking into a house? It's either a serious medical situation (seizure), car out of control (stuck accelerator) or doped up on something (bath salts). My guess is... let's wait for a report. This wasn't a 17-year old speeding through Fanwood just for kicks & giggles.
MR Justice July 13, 2013 at 10:26 PM
Whatever the case maybe. I live on a side street and see people go at least 40mph. The are 18 kids on the block and these kids run out on the streets sometimes. A speeding sicko will not cannot to stop in time. I don't have a good feeling about this and have never witnessed so many speeding cars on a side street in any other town i have lived in its scary and the fact no one is addressing is a pure joke!
ReallyConcerned July 14, 2013 at 01:23 AM
tiredofspeeders July 14, 2013 at 02:01 AM
Dear Caleb Cohen, I have lived in this town for over 20 years. I have watched cars speed up and down shady lane for over 20 years. Do you think this is a new situation. Ask the people who have lived on this street for over 40 years. My grandparents lived on this street. This is nothing new. Been to town meetings and they look at you as your wasting there time. I might be wrong but isnt this town about a square mile. Cant be alot going on for the town not to address this. And dont blame the teenagers all the time. Yes they go fast on the street but not all the time. It the Moms in there SUV with there children safe in THERE CAR, its the middle age men driving, Sunday night is good during football season, they love going fast at that time. I love the commuters that pass through speeding to work and the no left turn signs are a joke. not enforced. I love the people parking at the end by hetfield that clog both sides , they walk to the bus stop and go to work. Leaving there car there all day. I have lost 4 car mirrors because I left my car parked in the road for a couple of hours.
tiredofspeeders July 14, 2013 at 02:16 AM
Also, for the Gentleman that launched his car into a house. (and when you see it in person it is very impressive that it flew that far) There can be only two scenarios. He is a total jackass or had a seizure or heart attack. Can be no other reason. I hope its the latter and he recoperates soon. And for me to play mythbusters by having chalk outlines and recording speeders, isnt that for the police, town officials to do. We do get the speed radar machine every so often and thats the only time people drive normal. When its gone they go fast. And by fast it is 35 to 45 MPH with the occasional over 50 mph going down the street. I got to work my two jobs and overtime everyday to pay for my overtaxed cape. Dont got time for junior detective.
tiredofspeeders July 14, 2013 at 02:45 AM
Also, I have addressed Fedex, UPS, Tiffany Drugs , and all the unfortunate speeders to have phone numbers on the side of there cars. Calling the company telling that there emplyees are speeding does help. Again , they are not always the problem. The school buses do speed down the street (and with the precious children on board) and when you call the department with the buses they say they will take care of it but they dont. Called Scotch Plains PD and ask for lights and sirens when they speed through to a call and now they do it about 90% of the time. So dont think this issues has not been addressed. I t has been ignored by the town and the town officals. They are more worried about the square block of business area (really, cant managed a block and half is an empty lot for over 20 years ) ,Fannywood day., and squeezing more money from your pocket and mine to pay for there increases. And this is not an attack on any other post here. its just a discussion on the topic.
The Cynic July 14, 2013 at 10:22 AM
Should have taken him to Muhlenberg Hospital.
The Cynic July 14, 2013 at 05:13 PM
Not 100 mph. Can't be. Car went airborne, slid over grass and through a minimal fence on it's roof and then impacted the house. Most of the vehicle deceleration occurred when it impacted the house. My guess is that the car was doing 50 (maybe 60 mph maximum), lost 20 or so mph before it hit the house at about 25-30 mph. Here is what a 100 mph impact looks like: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FeTjXRbBHeA
MR Justice July 14, 2013 at 09:42 PM
Thank you tiredofspeeders you are a realist ! Caleb Cohen you are blind to what is going on in this town. I really do not have to hear the story i am sick and tired of people in general racing around in this town. You can sit there and makeup a thousand excuses none of them are valid in my opinion. Nothing will happen until someone is seriously hurt from a speeding car.
tiredofspeeders July 14, 2013 at 09:49 PM
Dont know if it was 100 but it was pretty fast. It looks like he hit a slop and that with the suspension of the vechicle launch it over decreative stone wall, double wide driveway into the next yard and bounced again into the house. Not an expert on this but i dont think it was 100 but it has to be more than 50. impressive that speed was met on that street. They have about 4 stop signs and not a straight through, the road curves.
tiredofspeeders July 14, 2013 at 10:41 PM
Its just what I see. Mr Justice My neighbor and I went to a town meeting a couple of years ago about this and we got "people dont want speed bumps. They dont want to hear the cars bottom out. It obstructs rainfall to the sewers, they cant plow the snow, blah blah blah." You can put the speed bump in front of my house. It will be music to my ears to hear people scrapping their undercarriage. Dont put the speed bump all the way to the curve so the rainwater can flow. How to plow? How the hell does every other town plow with speed bumps? We were also told we were an main access road. Well, isnt traveling any road and access road? We dont have sidewalks, no Double yellow lines, dont even have stop signs on the side streets into shady on the fanwood side. Its not supposed to be this heavily traveled or for high rate of speed. I dont care how may cars come down the street, just dont speed. Its not a racetrack. This town cares more about basketball courts, soccer courts, and the Chippery coming back. And Shady is not the only problem. There are many problem streets for speeding.
Oi Oi Oi July 29, 2013 at 03:15 PM
was there a follow up story to this?
MR Justice July 29, 2013 at 08:50 PM
I heard through the grapevine that they are trying to cover this one up. I also did hear it was not medical .
ScotchPlainsMom July 29, 2013 at 10:43 PM
Just curious, what reason would there be to cover it up?
The Cynic July 29, 2013 at 10:46 PM
MR Justice, what is the reason for posting such a empty comment? Got something to say...then say it.
MR Justice August 02, 2013 at 10:04 PM
The Cynic: That is not an empty comment at all. Do your own research .


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