N.J. Gov. Corzine, Injured in Crash, Pays Seat Belt Fine

May 3, 2007

New Jersey Gov. Jon S. Corzine has voluntarily paid a $46 fine for violating state law by not wearing a seat belt during the trip in which a car accident almost killed him, his spokesman said.

Corzine met with State Police Superintendent Col. Rick Fuentes, Attorney General Stuart Rabner and two state police investigators Tuesday at the governor’s mansion in Princeton to discuss the accident, spokesman Anthony Coley said.

As the meeting ended, Corzine asked Fuentes for a ticket, Coley said. Fuentes wrote one, and Corzine wrote a check for $46, Coley said.

Corzine fractured his left thigh and broke 11 ribs, his breastbone and other bones in the April 12 accident. He was riding unbuckled in the front passenger seat when his sport utility vehicle, driven by a state trooper at 91 mph (146 kph), was clipped by a truck and slammed into a guard rail near Atlantic City.

State law requires that all front seat passengers wear a seat belt. Violators face a $46 fine.

Corzine expressed regret Monday when he was released from a Camden hospital, where he spent 18 days recovering.

“I also understand that I set a very poor example for a lot of young people — a lot of people in general — and I certainly hope the state will forgive me,” Corzine said from his wheelchair. “I’ll work very hard to try to set the right kind of example to make a difference in people’s lives as we go forward.”

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