Attorney Ed Rebenack, of RAM is representing one of three children who were injured nearly two years ago when they were struck by a motor vehicle driven by New Brunswick Fire Director Robert Rawls. Jocelyn Palaez, 14, and two others, were crossing the street on Livingston Avenue after school on May 6, 2014, when Rawls failed to stop at a pedestrian crosswalk and hit her.
Rawls was cited for careless driving and for failure to stop for a pedestrian in a crosswalk. He subsequently pled guilty to those charges, both motor vehicle violations, and reportedly paid a $206 fine. According to police reports, he was driving a city-issued vehicle at the time of the accident. A subsequent check of Rawls’ driving record shows that he has been in 19 accidents and that his license was suspended 18 times over a 10 year period. Between 1977 and 2008, he had 9 tickets, including five for speeding.
A spokesperson for the prosecutor’s office said that there was no evidence that alcohol or drugs were involved, nor was Rawls ticketed for speeding. He also told reporters that there was no indication that Rawls was using a cell-phone or handheld device at the time of the accident.
The personal injury lawsuit also names the city of New Brunswick and the New Brunswick School District. Witnesses said there was no crossing guard at the corner. School officials said that the crossing guard assigned to that corner had quit a month earlier and that they were training a replacement. They also said that no police officers were available to cover the corner on the day of the accident.
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