A Jeep Laredo traveling north over the Maple Avenue Bridge into Fair Lawn Monday night was t-boned by a westbound motorist as it passed through the lightless intersection with River Road, police said.
The Laredo rolled over twice from the force of the impact and was totaled. Its two occupants escaped serious injury and declined transport to the hospital, but a passenger in the westbound Toyota Corolla, which police said initiated the accident, was taken to the hospital with chest pain.
Like the traffic signals on many of Fair Lawn's busiest roads, the Maple Avenue/River Road signal had been without power since Hurricane Sandy swept through town a week earlier.
While motorists will tell you there have been multiple close calls, police said only one other such accident -- at Fair Lawn Avenue and Orchard Street -- has occurred since Sandy knocked out power to traffic signals around town.
Lt. Derek Bastinck said police have tried to limit confusion at intersections where signals are out by using orange cones to funnel traffic. After the accident at Fair Lawn and Orchard, police made further adjustments to the cones, funneling traffic to one lane, he said.
Bastinck said it's important for motorists to treat an intersection where lights are out like they would a stop sign.
Monday's accident at Maple and River occurred because the westbound driver did not stop, Bastinck said.
By and large, however, both police and borough manager Tom Metzler have said motorists have been driving cautiously and courteously.