Citizen Drops Complaint Against N.J. Governor

Tuesday, May 1st 2007, 9:40 am

By: News On 6

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) _ A self-described gadfly withdrew his complaint Tuesday against Gov. Jon S. Corzine for failing to wear a seat belt when he was critically injured in a highway crash.

The complaint filed by Larry Angel was withdrawn just as a judge was to decide whether to approve the complaint. Corzine was released from a hospital Monday and apologized for not wearing his seat belt when his official SUV crashed on April 12.

``The governor's statements of taking responsibility swayed him,'' said Roseanne Lugg, the Galloway court administrator. ``That was all Mr. Angel was after.''

Corzine asked for the state's forgiveness and said he understood he had set a poor example. ``I'll work very hard to try to set the right kind of example to make a difference in people's lives as we go forward,'' he said Monday.

Since Angel withdrew the complaint, the pending court action was canceled, Lugg said.

``That's been withdrawn, so it's a done deal,'' she said.

Angel, 65, is a frequent critic of public officials and has run unsuccessfully for office himself. He didn't immediately respond to calls and e-mails seeking comment.

Angel's complaint had alleged Corzine violated state law by failing to wear his seat belt when his official vehicle, driven by a state trooper at 91 mph, crashed on the Garden State Parkway.

State law requires all front seat passengers wear a seat belt; Corzine was in the front passenger seat. Violators face a $46 fine.

State police have 30 days from an accident to act, and Corzine had not been cited as of Tuesday.

Tom Shea, Corzine's chief of staff, has said the governor should be ticketed if he wasn't buckled up.

Corzine fractured his left thigh, 11 ribs, his breastbone and other bones. Doctors operated on him three times and inserted a metal rod to stabilize his leg.

The state police report said he was thrown about inside the vehicle. His driver was not seriously injured.

After leaving the hospital Monday, Corzine was taken to the governor's mansion in Princeton, where he will undergo months of rehabilitation. Medical personnel said he is not likely to be able to walk without crutches or a cane for at least six months.

Corzine, a multimillionaire, is personally paying for his medical treatment.

The governor's mansion, parts of which date to 1835, is being modified to accommodate Corzine's rehabilitation and to allow him to conduct state business from there, though Senate President Richard J. Codey will continue serving as acting governor until Corzine is able to resume his duties.

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