RAHWAY, NJ — The public’s focus on moving vehicles and government officials has now shifted to Rahway Mayor Samson Steinman.
According to police reports, Steinman was driving a vehicle registered to the city of Rahway on Aug. 26 with an expired license when he crashed into a parked car on Central Avenue at approximately 5:30 a.m. The report states that Steinman was driving westbound on Central approaching Pierpont Street when he swerved to avoid an animal, and in doing so, hit a parked car. The car belonged to Gregory Gonzalez on Central Avenue.
Steinman, a former DMV manager, received a ticket for driving with an expired license, for which he received a summons. His vehicle was later towed.
Steinman did not respond to LocalSource’s request for comment.
The accident is the latest in a rash of motor-vehicle incidents involving public officials. In late July, Elizabeth Councilwoman Pat Perkins-Auguste was charged with driving an unregistered vehicle, as well as driving after a registration had been suspended or revoked. Later that same month, Hillside Mayor Angela Garretson was charged with disregarding an officer’s hand signals, obstructing passage of vehicles, improper passing, talking on a cellphone and driving through a safety zone.
Responding Rahway Police Officer Michael Power did not issue a drug or alcohol test, according to the reports.
In the aftermath of the incident, rumors and innuendo surrounding the incident began to fly, with some media outlets reporting on the whereabouts of Steinman prior to the accident.
But according to Rahway Business Administrator Cherron Rountree, the rumors are false and cannot be substantiated by any reliable sources.
Rountree told LocalSource that the incident is being handled according to the usual protocol. “I can confirm that the mayor was in fact in an accident the morning of Friday, Aug. 26,” Rountree said in an email. “Rahway Police Department responded to the scene and the mayor explained that he swerved out of the way in order to avoid hitting an animal and accidently hit a parked vehicle.
The vehicle that he was driving was registered to the city of Rahway. The mayor cooperated with the responding officers and the only violation that was found was an expired license for which he was issued a summons. We are handling this accident as we would handle any other accident involving a city employee and a registered city vehicle.”
According to Rountree, recent reports in the news have turned the incident into an unsavory media circus filled with false accusations. “As you are aware, with the proliferation of commentary in today’s digital world, rumors and innuendos spread quickly, creating false impressions of what really happened, said Rountree. “None of the other issues that you have raised were found to be the case by the responding officers. Other information relative to this incident has not been corroborated or substantiated.”
Rountree also addressed rumors that she offered false statements regarding the incident in defense of the mayor. “As far as any allegations that I have made false statements with regard to the incident, such accusations are a distortion of what I said and are based on second-, and possibly third-party interpretations of my conversations.”
None of the Rahway city council members responded to LocalSource’s request for comment.