The son of an elderly South River couple who died after their vehicle was struck by an East Brunswick (New Jersey) Fire Department’s chief’s vehicle responding to a call has filed a civil wrongful death lawsuit against the fire chief and others.
Kenneth Porowski of Morris Plains, son of Edwin M. Porowski and executor of his father’s estate, filed the lawsuit July 12 against Fire Chief Andrew Drozdowski, East Brunswick Fire District 1, Route 18 Shopping Center, Route 18 Management Company and others. Porowski is being represented by attorney David H. Sternlieb in Englishtown.
He is seeking all damages recoverable by law including compensatory damages, attorney fees, interest, the cost of the lawsuit and any other relief.
Around 7:30 p.m. Aug. 11, 2019 Edwin M. Porowski, 90, of South River was driving a 2017 Ford Fusion and was exiting onto Old Bridge Turnpike northbound from the rear of the Route 18 Shopping Center at 1020 Route 18, East Brunswick. The couple had just dined at a Burger King restaurant at the shopping center and were returning home from the rear entrance of the shopping center, the lawsuit states. At the same time, Drozdowski was driving the chief’s vehicle, a 2017 Chevrolet Silverado owned by East Brunswick Fire District 1 with the lights and siren deployed south on Old Bridge Turnpike near the rear exit of the Route 18 Shopping Center responding to a “smell of gas” call when the vehicles collided.
Porowski and his wife Claire, 79, were taken to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick where they both were pronounced dead, according to the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office.
According to the lawsuit Porowski suffered “a sudden and severe shocking to his physiological and nervous system that resulted in severe, painful and permanent injuries about his body, great emotional distress and fear and ultimately his death” and his estate incurred substantial medical bills and lost income.
The lawsuit also states Porowski observed his wife suffer severe and life threatening injuries, causing him severe emotional distress.
The lawsuit alleges Drozdowski negligently and carelessly operated the Chevrolet Silverado which caused a violent collision with Porowski’s vehicle. The lawsuit also alleges Drozdowski wasn’t looking out for other traffic, was traveling at an excessive speed, failed to stop or yield and failed to act in a safe and prudent manner.
An Old Bridge woman driving a 2018 Subaru Forester traveling northbound on Old Bridge Turnpike was also cited in the lawsuit in connection with “negligently and carelessly operating her vehicle” which also collided with Porowski’s vehicle.
East Brunswick Fire District 1 was cited in the lawsuit for failing to properly hire, train and supervise Drozdowski as well as failing to properly maintain the fire chief’s vehicle.
The lawsuit alleges the shopping center, its management company and maintenance workers failed to properly maintain the property to keep it free from hazards, defects and dangerous conditions including properly maintaining overgrown trees, shrubbery, hedges and foliage at the rear entrance of the shopping center to provide adequate sight lines for drivers using that exit.