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Former director of the Center for Jewish Life Rabbi James Diamond died Thursday morning in a triple-car accident, according to the Princeton Police. He was 74.

The accident occurred close to the intersection of Riverside Drive and Prospect Avenue, about one mile away from Princeton Charter Club.

Diamond was in the process of getting into a Toyota Prius, police said, when he was struck by a parked and unoccupied Toyota Camry that had been hit by a BMW driven by Eric Maltz, 20, of Princeton.

At about 9:42 a.m. Maltz was driving southbound on Riverside Drive when he crashed into the Camry that was parked on the other side of the road against the curb, police explained. The Camry was pushed backward, where it hit Diamond and the Prius.

Princeton Police Sergeant Mike Cifelli explained that Maltz was speeding at the time of the collision. There are “no indications” at this time that alcohol or drugs were involved.

Diamond, who was entering the passenger side of the Prius at the time, was thrown from the accident area due to the impact. Princeton First Aid & Rescue Squad and the Princeton Fire Department arrived at the scene of the accident. Diamond was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the Prius, Rabbi Robert Freedman, 63, also of Princeton, was inside the car and sustained injuries following the triple crash, as did Maltz.

Maltz and Freedman were transported to the Trauma Center at the Capital Health Regional Medical Center in Trenton, according to Cifelli. A representative of Capital Health was unable to give an update on Freedman’s or Maltz’s conditions Thursday afternoon.

According to a report in the Times of Trenton published Thursday, Freedman and Maltz sustained “serious injuries.”

Diamond, a Conservative rabbi, was the first full-time director of the CJL for nine years between 1995 and 2004. He also taught classes at the University, including fall 2003 course NES 214/JDS 214: Masterworks of Hebrew Literature in Translation.

In a statement Thursday afternoon, the CJL called the accident “tragic.”

 “A Conservative Rabbi, he was admired by students and faculty for his kindness, his teaching and his efforts to bring different Jewish denominations together,” the statement read.  

Current CJL director Rabbi Julie Roth could not be immediately reached for further comments.

Cifelli noted this is still an open investigation, and no charges have been pressed at this time. The investigation is being conducted by the Police Department and the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office. 

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