Why Are Jersey Cops Changing Accident Story 7 Years after the Fact?

The latest news from Chris Christie’s crappy driving record is that the story he has told about a second traffic mishap is falling apart. He maintains he was heading to a local prosecutor’s swearing in ceremony.

Christie said he was heading to [Union County Prosecutor Theodore] Romankow’s swearing-in ceremony at the time of the accident, but could not remember where he was coming from. He said he also couldn’t recall how he got to the ceremony after the car was totaled.

But the cops are now saying–after having originally corroborated this story–that Christie was headed away from this swearing-in ceremony.

Elizabeth police today adjusted their account of the July 26, 2002 incident. Police Director James Cosgrove said Christie was on his way from — not on his way to — the swearing-in of Union County Prosecutor Theodore Romankow when the accident occurred around 5:30 p.m.

Now, it may be this is just real confusion. Or maybe the cops figured out the timing didn’t work out the way the story was originally told. Or maybe there was a reason–back in the day–to claim to be heading to rather than away from these things (do they serve cocktails after prosecutors get sworn in?).

But Christie’s stories do have a way of falling apart. 

33 replies
  1. PJEvans says:

    Now that he’s (a) running for governor and (b) in trouble for lying misstating what happened on other things, maybe they feel that they can speak honestly about what happened.

    • PJEvans says:

      I can see weight-throwing all the way from California ….
      (It’s very much like the deputy who drove the celebrity – Mel Gibson? – to the impound yard to collect its vehicle, which is not generally done, and especially not for ordinary people like you or me.)

    • emptywheel says:

      Right–that’s in the article I link. That’s not that crazy–what were they going to do with him? And it was close.

      It was the firm he used to work at, btw.

  2. tekel says:

    Should be easy to figure out who is lying if there is a record of the swearing-in… the accident happened at 5:30. If the swearing-in happened at 4, Christie was leaving. If it happened at 6, he was on the way there.

    Either way, the ceremony would have been a matter of public record, right? And it would have been on the swearer’s calendar, which should be a public record as well.

    Who would have done it? The state AG? A judge?

  3. joanneleon says:

    Off topic:

    Some deck chair rearrangement going on in the Senate committees:
    It looks like Dodd is going to take over chairmanship of the Banking Committee, Harkin the HELP committee and Lincoln the Agriculture committee.

    How did Lincoln manage to jump the line and get this chairmanship?

    Dodd’s decision leaves the chairmanship of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee to Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), who follows Dodd in seniority. Multiple sources in the Harkin orbit, requesting anonymity to discuss internal deliberations, said that he is certain to take over the HELP committee.

    Harkin is currently chairman of the Agriculture Committee and would have to give up that position. He would likely be replaced at Agriculture by Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), who faces a difficult reelection bid in 2010. Other Democrats are more senior than her on the Agriculture Committee, but they hold more prestigious chairmanships already.

    • emptywheel says:

      I think it’s a matter of Harkin jumping rank (over Mikulski) to get HELP.

      I do wonder whether it was QPQ for health care. But in any case, Ag is screwed in this country, but Harkin was (like MI Senators are for cars) always supporting his state’s big industry. With Lincoln it’ll just make it harder to bring transparency to our food.

  4. Hmmm says:

    There was booze after. See page 4 of Ukrainian Times of Sunday Sept, 8, 2002. Unfortunately doesn’t say what time the ceremony was.

    Paragraph 3:

    “After the official ceremony in the county courthouse in Elizabeth the guests were invited to the Berkeley Heights Manor, where a sumptuous buffet was served, spirits flowed and spirited conversation abounded.”

    (Weird coincidence: Romankow defended or lobbied for Demjanjuk in Israel.)

  5. Arbusto says:

    So the cops keep two sets of reports, one supporting Christies story, then seven years later, oh sorry, we really meant this and it’s the truth!

    Damn; cops used to stay bought. Fuck ‘em all and the horses they road in on. (no offense to equestrians)

  6. freepatriot says:

    is this a rhetorical question, or do I gotta splain corruption to ya ???


    btw, I want to thank the innertoobz goddess. A few weeks back, when ew started chewin on this putz christie, I asked for somebody to take on the repuglitarded candidate for govenor in Virgina. Little did I know that the Virginia putz had a built-in self destruct thesis mechanism


  7. Boston1775 says:

    Just to note: it says in the Ukranian Times article that Romankow graduated from Seton Hall University and Rutgers School of Law. I don’t have time to find the Christie Family Trust records, but both universities got donations. Seton Hall is, I think, a particular favorite because Chris or Todd went there. (may not be remembering and have to go)

  8. maryo2 says:

    Remembering the football game speeding ticket: Why would he and his wife loan someone $46K when they couldn’t afford to buy the wife a car big enough to hold the whole family?

    Do you know where his wife works? Wiki says she is an investment banker on Wall Street with “Cantor Fitzgerald [who] is one of seventeen primary dealers who trade U.S. government securities directly with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.”

    Before becoming USA, he was a lobbyist and lobbied “to block the inclusion of securities fraud under the [NJ] state’s Consumer Fraud Act.”

    man, wiki is so knowledgeable.

  9. Citizen92 says:

    There has also been some inconsistency in the media in describing Christie’s BMW sometimes as ‘rented’ but also sometimes as ‘leased.’

    If the vehicle was rented, I ask, in 2002, which rental car companies were renting BMW sedans? (My guess, not many) And what type of person would feel the need to rent such a car? Was it rented to Chris or to someone else?

    If the vehicle was leased, I say, ‘leased to whom?’ I could understand the Christie family leasing a BMW. After all, they are wealthy. But Chris’ other accident had him behind the wheel of his wifes unregistered/uninsured car. How do we know this BMW was leased to him?

    Plus, why would the press point out the car is leased in the first place, since leasing is just like owning in terms of an accident. The insurance is the individual’s own carrier.

    I think the car was rented. Which brings me back to the initial comments.

    As for where he was coming from, well, if you believe story #2, then he was coming from the Union County Courthouse, which was a few blocks away. But if you believe story #1, who the heck knows?

      • Citizen92 says:

        Maybe he could lean on someone at his old law firm to lend him a car? Or at least drive him somewhere?

        There really was no reason to go back to the courthouse if (story #2) the ceremony was over… plus, I’m not sure he’d want to be wandering around downtown Elizabeth sans car. But if (story #1) he was en route to the ceremony, why then go to his old firm – that would have meant he missed the swearing in entirely!

        It would have been unreasonable for him to ask the cops to be driven back home to Menhdam up in Morris County. But I’m sure Cranford was in spitting distance, as would have been his US-Attorney’s office in Newark.

        If it was true that he was

        • maryo2 says:

          Yes, I see that both the court house and his old law ofice are both within 5 minutes of the accident.

          Now I am wondering why he was way down there in Elizabeth if he was coming from Berkely Heights going to Mendham (story #2).

  10. foothillsmike says:

    Why was he driven anywhere? If the motorcycle dumped it would have slid low to the ground. If the motorcyclist wasn’t speeding it wouldn’t have traveled far or with much force. The motorcyclist was not ticketed. This sounds more like the driver was incapacitated not the BMW. Are there any car repair records? Where was it towed to?

  11. maryo2 says:

    From the linked to article:

    According to court records, Mendonca filed a civil suit against Christie in 2004 that was later dismissed…. Today, Christie said he was not aware that a lawsuit was filed following the crash and did not know how it was resolved. Christie said he never paid Mendonca a settlement, and did not have any further contact with him after the accident.

    Motorcyclist going correct direction, BMW driver going wrong way on one way street. No settlement paid, but civil suit dismissed. I wonder why the motorcyclist sued two years after the fact as opposed to immediately.

    • Boston1775 says:

      I think it is interesting that his lawyer says that he cannot remember the accident. It happened seven years ago to the US Attorney from New Jersey, and his attorney can’t remember it?

      A very interesting response.

      Was Christie driven to his office by the police officer at the scene? And the other driver/motorcyclist was injured and taken to a trauma center? Christie says he, himself, put the injured person INTO an ambulance, and his attorney can’t remember this?

      How does an attorney NOT remember that?

      And the BMW was towed?

      How did Christie get home from the attorney’s office? Nobody remembers that?

      And then nobody was even aware that the injured person filed a case?

      So the US Attorney from New Jersey hired an attorney with all these non-abilities?

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