New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine was transported by helicopter to Cooper University Hospital in Camden after the SUV he was riding in swerved to avoid another car and hit a guardrail on the Garden State Parkway in Galloway Township.
The governor was on his way to meet with embattled radio host Don Imus and the Rutgers women's basketball team at Drumthwacket, the governor's residence in Princeton. Imus was fired Thursday after national outcry following his characterization of the players as "nappy-headed hos."
The accident happened just north of Atlantic City, where Corzine had attended an event. Upon arrival at the hospital, Corzine underwent surgery, where doctors determined that he had broken his sternum, collarbone, six ribs and his left leg, hospital spokeswoman Lori Shaffer said. Corzine also suffered a fracture to his lower vertebrae and a laceration on his head. Doctors could find no evidence of spinal or brain damage.
In accordance with state law, Democratic State Senate president Dick Codey will serve as acting governor while Corzine is unable to serve. Codey served as acting governor from November 2004 to January 2006, when Corzine was inaugurated.
Corzine, an ex officio trustee of the University, was expected to exit surgery shortly after midnight, Shaffer said. There is no indication of how long he will have to remain at the hospital for recovery, she added.
Officials say the crash occurred when a pickup truck on the right shoulder swerved onto the highway and forced another pickup into the path of the governor's car. Corzine's driver, state trooper Robert Raksinski was also taken to the hospital along with Samantha Gordon, an assistant to the governor who was traveling in the vehicle.
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