Driver Was Under Influence of Alcohol, Resident Has Serious Injuries

Dennis Balasabas has serious, non-life threatening injuries, said Summit Police Lt. Richel, and driver was arrested, charged for being under the influence, failure to yield in crosswalk.

The Summit resident who was struck while crossing Summit Avenue on Monday evening sustained serious injuries that appear to be non-life threatening at this time, said Summit Police Lt. David L. Richel.

Dennis Balasabas, a 39-year-old Summit resident, was crossing Summit Avenue at Union Place around 5:30 p.m. Monday, Richel said. Mark Boettcher, a 51-year-old Springfield resident, was driving a 2002 Toyota southbound on Summit Avenue when he hit Balasabas, who was in the marked crosswalk.

“The driver was arrested at the scene and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, and failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk,” Richel said.

The Union County Fatal Accident Team assisted in the investigation due to the initial report of life threatening injuries sustained by the pedestrian, Richel said. The Summit Fire Department and Rescue Squad also responded to the scene.

Original Story — Monday, 9 p.m.

A pedestrian was struck by a motor vehicle at the intersection of Summit Avenue and Franklin Place in Summit on Monday just before 5:30 p.m.

Summit Police Lt. David L. Richel said this was a serious motor vehicle accident, but wasn't able to confirm the extent of the pedestrian’s injuries or if the injuries are fatal.

Richel did confirm the pedestrian is a male resident of Summit and said he was transported to Morristown Memorial Hospital.

“The car was traveling south on Summit Avenue and struck the pedestrian in the crosswalk,” Richel said. “That’s what we have so far.”

The driver of the vehicle is a male Springfield resident, Richel said.

An investigation team from Union County was still at the scene around 8 p.m. Monday night. 

Richel said this accident is still under investigation at this time.

Summit Police Officers said Summit Police Department, Summit Fire Department and Summit EMS responded to the scene.

Editor’s note: Summit Patch will provide more information about this accident as it becomes available.

CAMERON December 11, 2012 at 07:09 PM
Well. The drivers. DO NOT STOP. HARDLY AT ALL. I THOUGHT THAT WAS THE LAW? It happens many times on deforest & maple. The drivers just do not care. Also on Springfield and maple. Many times you are in the crosswalk the turning driver just comes right at you I should know I have had many close scary close calls and I am in the crosswalk go with the light.
lauren December 11, 2012 at 08:42 PM
how many people had to get hit before Summit does something about traffic mitigation? c'mon! Mayr some real lights, traffic cops? anything?
JoeJoe December 11, 2012 at 10:12 PM
Lauren, you are making an assumption that the driver was at fault it seems. I think we all should let the police investigate before making much of a comment. NOBODY wants or likes to hear about any accident. I pray for the victims, both the driver and the pedestrian. What I do think is necessary is for EVERYONE to be held to the same standards. We all have seen cars driving selfishly and not yielding, but we all have seen pedestrians who just jump into the road, who do not use crosswalks, who ignore the red signal and walk anyway, and for the most part, ignore the very same laws that cars have to follow. Furthermore, we all have seen thoses bicyclist during the spring, ignoring the rules of the road, riding in groups causing traffic issues and road rage. not to mention the ridiculous clothing they wear regardless of age and the willingness to cause an argument as if they own the road. I especially think that man in the balloon type bicycle needs to travel rural roadways, not county roads given the unique type of bicycle and the likely challenge it probably is if having to make quick safe manuevers. We also need to remind our kids to pay attention downtown and stay out of the street with those boards too !!!!
JoeJoe December 11, 2012 at 10:18 PM
I forgot to add how during the Hurricane, I saw a women pushing a stoller near the high school, despite the closure where wires were down, trees were hanging, and the ground was wet. I personally had to control my willingness in wanting to call the police on her. What a dope !!!! How dare you take a chance with a child, let alone yourself. It is wrong and irresponsible which during an emergency could cause a fireman or police officer to put themself at risk to safe you and your child.
MsSummit December 11, 2012 at 11:15 PM
Uh, it says the pedestrian was hit in the crosswalk. There's a picture there too, of said crosswalk...which I happen to cross regularly on my way home off the train...and I can certainly attest to the fact that many motorists do not yield, many make that right turn into that very crosswalk...when there are pedestrians crossing, or just about to cross...I've learned to be very cautious as I enter the crosswalk, and wait for the cars to stop...otherwise, I'm sure I'd be in a similar situation as this victim. BTW, why is no info being released?
Caitlin Mahon December 12, 2012 at 02:40 AM
Hi everyone, Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Yes, the pedestrian, who is a Summit resident, was hit in the crosswalk. I updated this article today with additional information. The driver was arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk. The resident's injuries are serious, but appear to be non-life threatening at this time. As I obtain more information from Summit Police, I will update you all. Thanks! Caitlin
Tom Ucko December 12, 2012 at 03:32 AM
It is very difficult to see pedestrians crossing at night on the streets mentioned above. I drive Deforest every day and you need to very careful especially at the intersections with Beechwood and Maple. Maybe better streetlights are the answer. I do also think the police should make a priority of ticketing jaywalkers and drivers who fail to yield to pedestrians.
Max December 12, 2012 at 11:22 AM
". . . the pedestrian is a male resident of Summit and said he was transported to Morristown Memorial Hospital." Why not Overlook?
Tom Ucko December 12, 2012 at 12:09 PM
I would guess it's because Morristown is a Level II trauma center and Overlook is not. Specially equipped Level I and Level II trauma centers are located on a population and geographic basis across New Jersey.
Joe Voorhees December 12, 2012 at 01:54 PM
Tom is correct, while Overlook Medical Center is a great hospital and they are second to none in their neurological department there are injuries they are not equipped to handle such as traumas and severe burns (long care). Morristown Memorial's Trauma Center is the most appropriate facility for an injury of that nature (also acceptable from this area would be UMDNJ).
Pat Savage December 12, 2012 at 05:10 PM
I sincerely hope that the pedestrian fully recovers from this horrible accident and that the driver is charged appropriately. I also hope that the Mayor reads this because I think it is very important to get my point across. While I understand that there are a lot of drivers that do not obey the law for stopping for pedestrians, it goes both ways. I drive Summit Ave, Deforest etc. and many times there are pedestrians that simply cross the street without looking both ways because they think the law is that cars have to stop for them when in fact the law is that cars have to stop for pedestrians who are already in the cross walk. It is still the job of the person crossing to LOOK BOTH WAYS and decide on whether or not it is safe to cross. It is also the job of a driver to pay attention and stay alert. The situation by the train station is horrible and there should be some type of pedestrian traffic light there. People get off the train and simply walk across the street like a herd of animals. I am by no means saying that it is the pedestrians fault but what I am saying is that EVERYONE NEEDS to be more careful and FULLY understand the rules.
J December 12, 2012 at 06:05 PM
Under the best circumstances this intersection is problematic, but add darkness, bad weather and possibly impaired drivers around the holiday and this become a deadly spot in Summit. The big double-decker midtown trains dump a lot of people out at the Summit station at night. Since the drivers dont typically stop unless you actually challenge them by stepping out into the street, pedestrians are making a dangerous assumption that the drivers are not impaired. Summit should consider traffic lights or some safe tunnel/overpass scheme for the safe egress to the parking facilities. Didnt we have a pedestrian fatality in Summit around this time last year?
lauren December 12, 2012 at 09:44 PM
yes, a woman was run over and killed last year and many incidents, small and large have taken place since. I live in summit and commute to the city every day via train and the traffic situation is absolutely horrible and extremely dangerous. we need better traffic mitigation, traffic lights, and better planning from the city. obviously due to Sandy, there has been extra traffic in our area, but even before the storm it was terrible. would love to hear a response from our local council people and law enforcement on the issue.
AStar Gazer December 13, 2012 at 09:49 AM
Having personally been run over in Summit in a marked crosswalk, and having sustained major injuries, it does seem that better lighting and stricter enforcement of traffic laws need to be looked at. What usually happens is that the person causing the injury gets the charged offense pleaded down to make it a mockery of justice. especially if that person is a Summit resident.
LF December 13, 2012 at 08:30 PM
I drive through downtown nearly every day and while I make my best effort to stop for pedestrians, I often encounter pedestrians who don't even look to make sure I am going to stop and just bolt out into the road. I have trained myself to be looking for these walkers every time I pass the crosswalks, but the pedestrians bear some responsibility, too. i think it is very important for the pedestrians to actually look at the driver and ensure that the driver is going to stop! Even in the dark, the pedestrian can at least make sure the car is slowing down to allow them to cross. I am also a daily walker and I don't ever assume a driver is going to stop for me, I make sure they are stopping before I put myself in their path.


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