The family of a South River couple killed in a fiery crash involving East Brunswick’s Fire chief have filed a notice of a possible lawsuit against the local fire district. Edwin Porowski, 90, and his 87-year-old wife, Claire, died Aug. 11 in a car wreck involving East Brunswick fire chief Andrew Drozdowski, who was responding to a call in a department-issued SUV with the emergency vehicle’s lights and siren activated.
William Shipers, an attorney for Porowski’s son and daughter, said he is trying to obtain investigative reports, dispatch logs, statements and other evidence from the day of the crash from the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, but it is too soon to say whether further legal action will be pursued.
A notice of a possible lawsuit was also filed Aug. 30 against the fire district and its chief, Shipers said. The notice is typically the first step in filing a lawsuit and must be submitted within 90 days of an incident.
Shipers said the couple’s children, Ken Porowski and Patricia Crovo, are seeking clarity on the circumstances leading up to the crash.
“They are loving, dedicated children of the two decedents who miss their parents dearly and never got a chance to say goodbye,” Shipers said. “They had no final conversation.”
Jay Sendzik, an attorney for the fire department and chief, declined to comment beyond confirming a tort claim notice was filed.
The crash occurred in East Brunswick on Old Bridge Turnpike near Gunia Street around 7:30 p.m. The following day, the prosecutor’s office released a statements saying they are investigating the crash after East Brunswick police didn’t not give “mandatory timely notification” of the event.
The chief of the volunteer fire department has been placed on administrative leave while “facts are clarified,” East Brunswick Fire Department #1 has said.
After the crash, East Brunswick Police Chief Frank LoSacco issued a statement saying the Office of Professional Standards was reviewing the internal handling of the crash and to identify any needed policy or procedure changes.
The couple were slated to celebrate about 68 years of marriage the following week and were active church members, a family member previously told NJ Advance Media.
“Right now we need to determine what happened,” Shipers said. “There are a litany of investigation reports, most of which have not been provided to me as of yet. Once we have all of that we’re going to put all the pieces together.”
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