NJ Governor Jon Corzine remained on a ventilator and in intensive care after extensive injuries from a Thursday night car accident on the Garden State Parkway. His doctors revealed his injuries were much "worse than initially reported" - the Times writes "the unbelted Mr. Corzine jettisoned from the front passenger seat in the back from the impact." Corzine lost half his blood, and he has not been able to speak due to the ventilator's tube. His children were emotional during a press conference: Daughter Jennifer said, “I think he’s going to be O.K.”
The impact of the crash caused his left femur to break and puncture his skin - a metal rod was put in his leg. Star-Ledger reports that doctors will be monitoring the next 48-72 hours carefully, as he may susceptible to infections. He is expected to be in a wheelchair for possibly months - and it's unclear whether he faces paralysis (one of his vertebra was broken). Here's a graphic showing all of the governor's injuries.
Now much of the attention is on how it's very likely that Governor Corzine was not wearing a seat belt at all. The Daily News' headline reads Gov Simply Would Not Buckle, with a "Cops tried - and refusal almost led to Corzine's death" while the Post puts Corzine's head on a crash test dummy, calling him BUCKLE HEAD. NJ state law requires all passengers to buckle, and violators can be fined $46, but even the governor's chief of staff, after a press secretary said it did not seem like Corzine was wearing a seat belt, said, "Those of you who know Gov. Corzine know he's not always amenable to suggestion." The Times spoke to former NY governor Mario Cuomo, who signed the country's first mandatory seat belt law in 1984:
"I remember the violent opposition it received. People didn’t like the idea of being forced to strap themselves in. When we adopted the seat belt law, it was the most unpopular thing I had done as governor.”
Interesting fact: Cuomo apparently found seat belts uncomfortable at first. And the Daily News has an editorial wishing Corzine a get well - and reminding reader to buckle up; the Post's editorial emphasizes Corzine's Terrible Mistake.
NJ Governor Richard Codey, who has served as governor when Christie Todd Whitman left office early to work at the EPA and when James McGreevey resigned, said, "I’m a stand-in.” He also says he wears seat belts. The NY Times has an interactive graphic showing the accident. NJ State Police are still looking for the red pick-up truck that caused another car to hit the governor's SUV, which then spun off the parkway. The police do have the "black box" from the governor's SUV and will be examining its information.
Corzine is scheduled for two more surgeries and will face "grueling" and intense months of physical therapy.
Graphic from the Star-Ledger