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GOP Guv Hopeful Hit Motorcyclist With His BMW But Wasn’t Ticketed

12:36 PM EDT on September 4, 2009

New Jersey GOP gubernatorial nominee Chris Christie, who holds a solid lead over incumbent Jon Corzine (D) despite a less-than-stellar political climate for his part, today was forced to explain away his poor driving record for the second time in two weeks.

large_ccjcx.jpgNew Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine (D) at right, with his GOP challenger Chris Christie at left. (Photo: Star-Ledger)

The Newark Star-Ledger reported last night that Christie, while driving the wrong way down a one-way street in 2002, hit a motorcyclist with his rented BMW but managed to avoid getting ticketed by the police officer at the scene.

James Cosgrove, the police director in Elizabeth, New Jersey, told the Star-Ledger that Christie made the investigating officer aware of his status as New Jersey's federal prosecutor, a post he held from 2002 to 2008.

When asked if Christie's high-ranking political position contributed to his ability to escape a summons for the incident, Cosgrove replied:

I don't think I want to make that kind of deduction, but I think the facts speak for themselves.

The 2002 episode in Elizabeth was not Christie's first brush with traffic justice. He was stopped for driving infractions five times between 1985 and 1990, and paid a $250 fine in 2005 after pleading guilty to speeding and driving an unregistered, uninsured car. When police officers stopped him four years ago, Christie also let them know that he was the state's senior federal prosecutor.

Asked by reporters for a comment on the 2005 ticket, Christie's campaign spokeswoman made light of the matter:

Before the Corzine campaign wastes any more of the governor's WallStreet millions on opposition research, we're going to let them knowKim [the lieutenant governor nominee] received a ticket in 2007 for driving while on a cell phone and Chris got detention in the 9th grade for too much talking in class.

It's difficult to say whether Christie's driving record -- which includes a total of 25 points on his license and 13 tickets for moving violations -- will become a viable political tool for Corzine.

The Democratic governor had to grapple with his own ill-advised auto decision making in 2007, after he was seriously injured following a crash of his state trooper-driven official vehicle. Corzine later acknowledged that he was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash.

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