YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A 49-year-old Hillsdale mother of three who was slammed by a car that suddenly lurched toward her in front of the Trader Joe’s in Westwood yesterday remained at Hackensack University Medical Center today with what police described as “massive trauma to her lower extremities.”
Unconfirmed reports are that Ruta Fiorino lost a leg but was in stable condition at Hackensack University Medical Center this morning.
Fiorino, who works at the supermarket, had finished her shift and gone out front to get a cart to do some shopping just after 3:15 p.m., Westwood Police Chief Frank Regino said in a statement, confirming an account he gave CLIFFVIEW PILOT late yesterday afternoon.
The driver, a 75-year-old woman from New Milford, had come out of the store moments earlier, the chief said. A worker assisted her in putting packages into her car.
Fiorino was airlifted by Air-Med 1 to Hackensack Medical Center. ALS 106, River Vale Ambulance 50 and Ambulance 232 from Englewood Hospital assisted, the chief said. He said he couldn’t speak directly to her condition.
Fiorino is “a wonderful, caring woman who always puts a smile on everyone’s face,” a co-worker told CLIFFVIEW PILOT . “I feel so horrible for her and her family. My thoughts are with them right now.
“We are like a family at Trader Joe’s. It’s a unique place to work. Our Captain, Laura, is an extremely caring person who is devastated by this. I guarantee that she will do everything she can to help Ruta. ”
The co-worker, who asked that his name not be used, said he has dodged cars in the parking lot. Most times, he said, it’s been an elderly driver behind the wheel.“I also cannot help but wonder what the driver was thinking,” he said. “Now a woman who never did anything but help others is crippled for life.”
A continuing investigation was being conducted by Westwood Police and the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office Fatal Accident Investigation Unit Task Force, Regino said. The Bergen County Sheriff’s Bureau of Criminal Identification collected evidence.
The driver was issued a summons for careless driving, the chief said.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Based on an official news release, the victim in the first version of this story was identified as Rita Fiorino.)
PHOTO: Courtesy NEWS12