Frank Novatkoski, 78, of Pear Street, has been employed as a Lawrence Township crossing guard for six years. He was in stable condition at Capital Health Regional Medical Center by mid-Friday afternoon, according to Lawrence Township Police.
Christopher Bloom, 30, of Morrisville, Pa. was driving a 1998 Kenworth truck with a tanker trailer for Reber Corporation when the accident occurred, Police said.
Bloom was driving north on Lawrence Road when he swerved to avoid hitting Novatkoski, who was crossing the road. Bloom reportedly missed the crossing guard with the tractor portion of the truck, but struck him with the trailer portion as he passed, knocking Novatkoski to the ground.
Novatkoski was unresponsive at the scene, Police said.
The intersection where the accident occurred is controlled by a traffic signal.
The accident is under investigation by Police Off. Christopher DiMeglio and Det. Robert Potter. No motor vehicle summons have been issued at this time due to the pending investigation.
Lawrence Road was closed for about an hour.
Anyone who witnessed this accident or has information is urged to contact Lawrence Township Police at 609-896-1111.
This is not the first time a crossing guard has been hurt at this location. On Dec. 14, 2010, Anthony Sebasto Sr., then 83, suffered nine broken ribs, three broken vertebrae in his spine and other internal injuries when he was hit by a car as he set up his school crossing post.
Several years earlier on Feb. 14, 2002, beloved school crossing guard Robert “Bob” Gernhart, 70, was killed nearby when he was struck by a car at his post on Lawrence Road (Route 206) at Lawrence Avenue in front of the Church of Saint Ann.
After his father's accident, Anthony Sebasto Jr. implored former Lawrence officials to lower the speed limit on Lawrence Road, between Darrah Lane and the Harneys Corner intersection (Princeton Avenue/Princeton Pike), before another pedestrian was struck.
Sebasto Jr. said he could document at least 32 instances of crossing guards being hit by vehicles in New Jersey in just over 10 years’ time. Three of those, he noted, occurred within a one-third-mile stretch of Lawrence Road – the accident involving his father, the accident that took the life of Gernhart, and another accident on Dec. 7, 1999, in which Police Officer Michael Yeh was hit by a car while he worked a crossing guard post at the same intersection where Gernhart was killed.
Several months later, Lawrence Township officials reduced the speed limit on Route 206 (Lawrence Road) between Skillman and Brearley avenues from 40 mph to 35 mph. NJ DOT also installed a new traffic light at Route 206 and Darrah Lane.