Likely New Jersey Democratic gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono was cited Tuesday for not buckling up while riding in the back seat of a car that was in an accident a day earlier.
Buono was taken to a hospital – though briefly – for treatment for a cut on her forehead.
Buono was riding in the back seat of a Jeep Wrangler when the crash occurred around 8 p.m. Monday in Franklin Township, her campaign said in a statement. The car was being driven by staff member Nicolas Rodriguez, who was attempting to turn when he collided with an oncoming car.
Franklin Township Police said Rodriguez failed to yield. Rodriguez, 23, was issued a summons on Tuesday for careless driving.
Buono was cited for failure to wear a seatbelt.
Under a 2010 state law, all car passengers must be buckled up, no matter where they’re sitting. But those who are unbuckled in the back seat cannot be cited unless the vehicle is cited for another violation.
Buono was a member of the Senate when the law was adopted, but she did not cast a vote on the bill.
Her campaign staff sent out a statement early Tuesday detailing the accident, but the campaign declined to comment on the traffic summonses.
Neither driver was seriously injured, though Rodriguez had cuts on his arm and Eugene O’Donnell, the driver of the other vehicle, a Ford Escape, said he was in pain after the air bag and seatbelt were deployed. Police said passengers in the front seat of each vehicle were not hurt.
The 59-year-old legislator was taken to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick but was released quickly and was back at work Tuesday morning.
“Senator Buono is extremely grateful that no one was seriously injured in the accident, and thanks everyone who has called, emailed, or messaged their thoughts and good wishes,” her campaign office said in a statement.
Buono is not expected to face any prominent challengers in the Democratic gubernatorial primary. If she wins, she’ll face Republican Gov. Chris Christie in the November general election.
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