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Four-Car Accident Clogs Plaza Road at Rush Hour

Four cars were involved in a chain reaction collision during rush hour Friday on Plaza Road and Berdan Avenue, adjacent to the Route 208 ramp and Ambulance Corps building.

A four-car accident at the intersection of Plaza Road and Berdan Avenue just after 5 p.m. Friday snarled traffic and briefly closed the Route 208 on-ramp, but resulted in no serious injuries, said.

Fair Lawn resident Freeman Miller said he was heading home from work driving south on Plaza Road when an Acura coming the opposite direction on Plaza tried to make a quick left turn in front of him at the Berdan Avenue intersection. Miller didn't see the car and plowed into it.

"One guy made a left turn and the guy that I hit tried to sneak in behind him to make the left turn before I got into the intersection, but he couldn't make it," Miller, 73, said. "Before I knew it, I was on top of him...He was hidden behind the first car."

The collision started a chain reaction with the Acura being bounced back into a Honda Pilot that was waiting at the light on Berdan in front of the building, which in turn was driven back into a pick-up truck waiting behind it.

Three of the four cars were towed from the scene.

The ramp to-and-from Route 208 was closed temporarily until the accident scene was cleared, and the  cleaned up an antifreeze spill at the scene using Speedy Dry, police said.

The ambulance corps responded and checked crash victims on the scene, but all declined a trip to the hospital. Lt. Derek Bastinck said the fact that all involved were wearing seatbelts likely spared them from serious injury.

Miller, who had his arm bandaged and his hand wrapped in gauze afterwards, said he was treated at the scene for a minor cut and what might be a broken hand. 

"We're going to take a ride over [to the emergency room] and get it x-rayed," he said. "It's starting to turn purple."

Miller said his car, a white 1999 Mercury Tracer, was totaled as a result of the accident.

The crash is still under investigation, police said.

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RadburnNJ July 14, 2012 at 12:16 AM
I'm sure adding 165+ apartments right at that intersection won't make this more of a common occurrence....
mushroom July 14, 2012 at 03:42 AM
Sign of things to come.
Kristine Liggieri July 14, 2012 at 12:31 PM
Mjm.....you know it all..and all of the time...you amaze me!!!!!!!!!!!
Tiny Tim July 14, 2012 at 12:54 PM
Make this guy Bastinck Chief already!
L July 14, 2012 at 01:33 PM
MJM, have you ever read the rules? (2) If you’re the driver of a vehicle and you intend to make a left turn at an intersection, you must yield the right of way to a vehicle that’s approaching the intersection from the opposite direction if that vehicle is close enough to you so as to constitute an immediate hazard. But after yielding, and after giving a signal, you may make the left turn. When you’re making the left turn, other vehicles that are approaching the intersection from the opposite direction must yield to you. Don't you think that resulting 4-car accident kind of points to "an immediate hazard" that was ignored?
Stuart Pace July 14, 2012 at 04:45 PM
Stupid and careless drivers cause accidents. Not Houses.
Allan E. Fineberg July 14, 2012 at 06:23 PM
In all my years, I've rarely heard a driver involved in an accident say, "I did a really dumb thing...I drove too fast, and I followed too closely."
L July 15, 2012 at 12:13 AM
you wrote 'aged driver "not seeing" whats in front of him should be more concerning to you'. Let's not immediately assume 73 yr old does not know how to drive? He is not the one who caused this accident! How old is the other guy, by the way?
Harry July 15, 2012 at 02:25 PM
I'd like for that idea!!
Harry July 15, 2012 at 02:35 PM
someone was speeding to total a car. And just think when those new apartments go up there will be another 40 to 50 and even more cars added to that stretch of roadway during rush hour. It makes for more chances of accidents, especially when all these yahoo drivers tend to speed a little so they get to work and home for dinner on time instead of giving themselves an extra 10 minutes getting to work and having dinner at 6:30 instead of 6:00.
L July 15, 2012 at 04:26 PM
So do you understand WHY he did not see a car behind the first car? Hint: "He was hidden behind the first car." Also, don't you think rules are written the way they are for a reason? So whoever is hiding behind another car has to show himself before turning? I understand that you think that if it were YOU there, and I assume you are a little younger than 73, yes? - you would have been able to avoid this accident FOR SURE, correct? You would probably remembered all the cars in front of you, hidden or not. Hey, if everyone was such a good driver like I assume you are, we would not have even need traffic lights.
Onthesidelines July 15, 2012 at 10:35 PM
Sounds like " L" is in the "age bracket "
L July 15, 2012 at 10:43 PM
Sorry to offend you. But how do you think the vicitim of this accident would feel if he ever heard your opinion about his lack of ability to see hidden things in front of him? Because he is 73? That being more concerning to you than other guy not observing the rules? Someone has to stand up for senior citizens here and it might as well be me! On the other hand ...Glass of wine... Will think about it.
L July 15, 2012 at 10:48 PM
I am just wise beyond my years :))
Daniel Evers July 16, 2012 at 12:10 AM
maybe if more people knew the rules of the road these kind of things wouldn't happen as much. Oh and by the way red lights and stop signs are mere suggestions to alot of Fair Lawn newbes.
es July 16, 2012 at 01:34 PM
@MJM Our planning board seems concerned enough about future traffic issues at Berdan to have investigated replacing the signal and reconfiguring the lanes. The developer, however, only agress to kick in their "fair share" of $4,000 for their part in pushing the trouble over the edge. Why are some projects given the hard line by the board to correct deficencies existing under prior ownership and others little real push for off-site improvements to mitigate the new use?
Life-Long FL Resident July 16, 2012 at 05:54 PM
Although generalizing that our senior population are not able-bodied enough to drive a motor vehicle is a bit disconcerting, it is and has always been my belief that at age 70 1/2 all drivers whom wish to keep driving NEED be re-tested, and should be re-tested every 3 years. Hey some 90 year olds are better drivers than some 30, and 40 year olds! This process would ensure the seniors that are good and attentive drivers to remain on the roads and live independently and those who are not safe and/or inattentive drivers will be removed from the road and take the minibus to get around and still remain independent. My thoughts for the day.......

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