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news release

Contact: Jim Berzok
609-530-2034
RELEASE: June 5, 1997


Haley solicits help of public to catch hit-and-run driver


Transportation Commissioner John J. Haley Jr. today asked the motoring public to come forward with any information that would help police further identify a truck that slammed into a NJDOT Emergency Service Patrol (ESP) truck on Monday critically injuring the driver.

"It is unconscionable that someone would leave the scene of an accident in which the potential for injury, or fatality, was so great. And it is bitterly ironic that our driver was attempting to pull his vehicle over on to the shoulder to help a disabled motorist when he was struck and injured," Haley said.

The injured driver, Vincent Pelligra, 32, is in critical condition at Morristown Memorial Hospital with serious head injuries and is awaiting transfer to Hackensack Hospital.

Pelligra, a 13-year employee of the NJDOT, was operating his ESP van along Route 80 westbound in Denville when his vehicle was hit in the rear by the truck. The truck was red and was pulling a trailer with a backhoe, according to the motorist who was awaiting assitance from the ESP vehicle.

"I implore anyone with information that could help the investigation, such as the license plate or the name of the company on the truck, to call the State Police immediately," Haley added. The State Police can be contacted at (201) 785-9419.

ESP is a program that provides assistance to disabled vehicles and stranded motorists. ESP vans and trucks are equipped with first aid kits, jacks, traffic cones, fire extinguishers and tools for minor repairs. Changing flat tires is the most common type of assistance given by patrols, followed by providing a gallon of gas, jump-starting dead vehicles and giving directions to lost motorists.

ESP covers I-76, I-295, I-676, Route 55 and Route 42 in Camden, Burlington and Gloucester counties; and I-80, I-280 and I-287 in Morris, Essex and Bergen counties. ESP is federally funded and operates on weekdays from 4:00 AM to 8:30 PM.

 
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