Updates on Morristown children hit in crosswalk, and man who fell from parking deck

Pedestrians in Speedwell Avenue crosswalk, an instant before the white vehicle hits them, Nov. 18, 2023. Screenshot by Kevin Coughlin
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Morristown has extra reasons to give thanks during this Thanksgiving season.

A mother and her three children who were struck in a Morristown crosswalk just days before the holiday were treated and released from Morristown Medical Center.

And a man who plummeted from the fourth level of the Headquarters Plaza parking garage remains alive, though in critical condition, hospital spokesperson Karen Zatorski told Morristown Green on Monday.

Both violent episodes were captured on videos that circulated online.

The family members were crossing Speedwell Avenue, near Henry and Orchard streets, at 10:42 am on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023, when a southbound 2015 Nissan Altima hit them.

Yosemira Maricella, 36, of Morristown, was thrown 30 feet down the avenue by the impact. She sustained facial cuts and complained of back pain, reported Morristown Police Officer Emmanuel Margaronis. 

Maricella’s 7-year-old daughter had an injury to her right wrist; a 4-year-old daughter sustained abrasions to her back, while a 3-year-old son was taken to the hospital for observation, the police report stated.

The mother initially was treated by emergency responders from the Morristown Fire Bureau. Her children already were being transported to the hospital in Atlantic Health ambulances when Margaronis arrived at the scene.

The officer reported that Maricella told him she and her kids had been standing on the sidewalk, and entered the crosswalk when a northbound vehicle stopped to let them cross Speedwell. When they crossed the yellow line into the southbound side, the Altima did not slow down and plowed into them, according to Margaronis’ report.

Although the security camera video shows the car traveling at a brisk pace, the police report does not estimate how fast it was going. The speed limit there is 25 mph, and a “Yield to Pedestrians” sign stood in the center of the roadway, the report indicated.

Driver James Vincent, 64, of Woodbridge, noticed the car stopping in the opposite lane, but “stated that he did not see anyone in the crosswalk. He continued driving and noticed kids in front of him,” crashing into all four pedestrians and then slamming on the brakes, Margaronis reported.

Man dangles from fourth level of Headquarters Plaza parking garage, Nov. 19, 2023. Screenshot by Kevin Coughlin

Vincent was charged with failing to stop for pedestrians in a marked crosswalk, and careless driving.

Less is known about the man who vaulted over the parking garage wall when authorities tried to snatch him to safety on the afternoon of Nov. 19.

A cell phone video recorded by a bystander shows the man balancing atop the wall, then hopping back down into the garage.

Seemingly trying to elude help, the man soon is dangling, as someone who appears to be a police officer leans over the wall and struggles to keep a grasp of his arm.

The man then falls feet-first to the ground.

Morristown officials denied Morristown Green’s Open Public Records Act request for details, citing a 2002 executive order by then-Gov. Jim McGreevey shielding “information relating to medical, psychiatric or psychological history, diagnosis, treatment or evaluation.”

At least two other suicide attempts have been made from that garage since 2014.

Anyone experiencing emotional distress or a mental health crisis can get help by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or by texting 988.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. Walking down South St on the side walk is really getting dangerous. People whip into and out of alleys going to parking areas. At intersections left turners wait for a gap and then turn without checking for pedestrians. A little inforcement would go a long way. Oh and there’s the adults on big bikes, often electric, on the sidewalk. It’s a real zoo.

  2. Another area of great concern that has been ignored for pedestrians…South Street and Hamilton Road (across from Walgreens). This death trap, especially for the many elderly that live there, is beyond scary (many vehicles are rushing to 278, Morristown Hospital, Madison Avenue). Crossing during inclimate weather and evening and nights is literally taking your life in your hands. Local government, including Mikie Sherrill, have ignored this frightful situation endangering Morristown residents every day.

  3. The recent tragic events, where a mother and her children were struck by a car, are a grim reminder of the urgent need to reevaluate our relationship with automobiles. This isn’t just an isolated incident; it’s a symptom of a car-centric culture that prioritizes convenience over the safety and lives of pedestrians and cyclists.

    The dominance of cars on our streets has led to an environment where a simple act of crossing the street becomes a life-threatening endeavor. In Morristown, like many other towns, the streets have become battlegrounds where pedestrians and cyclists are at the mercy of two-ton metal machines. The incident on Speedwell Avenue is a stark illustration of this dangerous imbalance.

    We need to shift our focus from accommodating more cars to creating safer spaces for people. It’s high time we challenge the norm that streets are primarily for cars. We need wider sidewalks, dedicated and protected bike lanes, traffic calming measures like speed bumps, and stricter enforcement of traffic laws, especially regarding yielding to pedestrians.

    Let’s envision a Morristown where children can walk to school without fear, where families can enjoy a leisurely bike ride, and where the streets are a place of community, not danger. This vision can only be realized if we collectively decide to de-prioritize cars and re-prioritize people.

    We can’t wait for more accidents to spur us into action. The time for change is now. We need to stand up, speak out, and demand a safer, more humane approach to urban planning and transportation. Let’s come together as a community to reclaim our streets for the people who live in them. Let’s make Morristown a beacon of pedestrian and bicycle safety, a town where the streets belong to everyone, not just those behind the wheel.

  4. It is a terrible thing that the mother and children were hit and thankfully they’re ok. But if you drive on Speedwell regularly, then you know what kind of chaos it really is to drive there. How many pedestrians have been hit in recent years along Speedwell? And why? Because there’s WAY too much traffic, WAY too little oversight and revision of revision of traffic flow by the governing body, WAY too many pedestrian walkways and lights that half the time are NEVER used by pedestrians properly along this route. It’s a perfect storm- drivers totally frustrated with traffic, trying their best to make it through many lights and tons of traffic sand pedestrians crossing in the mix who honestly can’t be seen through the traffic. I sympathize with the mother and children, but also with the driver who hit them, and all the other drivers trying to get through from Spring St. to Cory on any given day.

  5. Thank you for the update Kevin. Thankfully this family only received minor injuries. This could have had a horrible ending. Prayers to the man from the parking garage for a full recovery. Hopefully he gets the help he needs.

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