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FEBRUARY 23, 2006


3120 Princeton Pike,
Lawrence Township

During the morning of Thursday, February 23, 2006, Lawrence Road Fire Co. volunteers responded to a four-vehicle in the parking lot of an office building.

According to police, the accident occurred about 10:20 a.m. as a 74-year-old woman was trying to park her minivan into a handicapped space in front of the Bank of America branch in the 3100 block of Princeton Pike.

The elderly woman, who police said uses a wheelchair and wears heavy boots, lost control of the Dodge minivan when her foot slipped and pressed down on the gas pedal.

The minivan sped forward onto the sidewalk, clipping a parked Volvo, police said.

The out-of-control minivan then traveled more than 120 feet over the sidewalk and parking lot of the adjacent Lawrence Professional Building before slamming into the front of a parked Lexus wagon, according to police.

The Lexus, in turn, was propelled into a parked Nissan, which was then pushed into a parked Pontiac, police said.

Police said the Lexus’ driver, a 49-year-old woman, was sitting behind the wheel waiting for her mother to return from a doctor’s visit in the building.

She was shaken up, but declined medical attention, police said.

When authorities were notified of the accident it was unclear if the elderly woman was trapped inside the minivan, so Mercer County Central Communications Center dispatched all three Lawrence Township fire companies as part of a full rescue assignment.

Lawrenceville Capt. Butch Bentley arrived to find no entrapment, but fluids leaking from some of the damaged vehicles. As a result, he ordered Mercer County Central to recall all but one piece of apparatus. As Rescue 22 was the first unit to respond, it was allowed to ride in.

Rescue 22’s crew applied absorbent material to soak up the spilled anti-freeze and other fluids and stood by while a Lawrence First Aid Squad crew removed the 74-year-old woman and transported her to University Medical Center at Princeton to be examined as a precaution.

Police said the minivan, the Lexus wagon, and the Pontiac were so badly damaged that they all had to be towed away. Patrolmen Mike Yeh and Sam Pastorella investigated and issued the 74-year-old woman a traffic ticket for careless driving, police said.

All photos copyright (c) 2006 by Michael Ratcliffe.

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