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New Jersey Governor Chris Christie apologized today, saying he was ‘‘embarrassed and humiliated’’ by his staff. According to the AP report, Christie said he had no idea his aides may have closed highway lanes to exact political retribution. Governor Christie said he fired Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Anne Kelly, ‘‘because she lied to me.’’ (read more about today's developments).
The scandal surrounding the shut down of lanes to the GW Bridge and causing major traffic james had a very clear fire and EMS component that has been making national news.
Rescuers faced delays during medical emergencies because of traffic jams that appear to be tied to a political scandal engulfing former appointees of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, according to a letter obtained by CNN Wednesday.
Ambulances and paramedics in Fort Lee, New Jersey, got stuck in gridlock caused by a "new traffic pattern" on the George Washington Bridge in September, EMS Coordinator Paul E. Favia wrote in a letter to the town's mayor.
In the letter, which does not mention Christie or his administration, Favia said a police officer had told him traffic snarls in Fort Lee were caused by "a new traffic pattern at the (bridge's) toll booths."
"I would like to bring this to your attention as this new traffic pattern is causing unnecessary delays for emergency services to arrive on scene for medical emergencies within the borough," he wrote.
Emergency responders were delayed in attending to four medical situations – including one in which a 91-year-old woman lay unconscious – due to traffic gridlock caused by unannounced closures of access lanes to the George Washington Bridge, according to the head of the borough’s EMS department.
In at least two of those instances, response time doubled, noted EMS coordinator Paul Favia, who documented those cases in a Sept. 10 letter to Mayor Mark Sokolich, which The Record obtained.
On Sept. 9, the first day of the traffic paralysis, EMS crews took seven to nine minutes to arrive at the scene of a vehicle accident where four people were injured, when the response time should have been less than four minutes, he wrote.
It also took EMS seven minutes to reach an unconscious 91-year-old woman who later died of cardiac arrest at a hospital. Although he did not say her death was directly caused by the delays, Favia noted that “paramedics were delayed due to heavy traffic on Fort Lee Road and had to meet the ambulance en-route to the hospital instead of on the scene.”