Blue state Jersey City Councilwoman Amy DeGise (D) was allegedly captured on surveillance video slamming into a cyclist with her SUV, knocking him off his bike, and then appears to drive away without stopping or even slowing down to help, according to multiple reports and stunning footage.
The city’s closed-circuit TV cameras captured the incident on July 19 at around 8 a.m. Traffic camera video released by city officials on Tuesday afternoon shows the black SUV allegedly driven by first-term Jersey City Councilwoman DeGise striking a man on a bicycle in the middle of the intersection of Forrest Street and Martin Luther King Drive in Jersey City without ever slowing down before leaving the scene. She had a green light and was going through the intersection when her Nissan Rogue struck the bike, causing the cyclist to be hurled over the SUV’s hood as he fell to the ground, Hudpost.com reported.
The cyclist, wearing a helmet, backpack, yellow shirt, and jean shorts, flipped over and slid off the SUV’s windshield and onto the pavement after the impact. The video shows him slowly getting up, his mangled bike lying on the opposite side of the street.
The 29-year-old rider, Andrew Black, could be seen falling to the ground and appeared stunned and shaken as he got back up. Black initially told police he had a green light and the right of way, NJ.com reported, citing a crash report. In an interview with HudPost.com, Black reiterated that he had the right of way and said he suffered deep bruising and anxiety crossing the street after the incident.
WNBC reported that officials later said Black was mistaken, and he did not have the green light.
However, it’s not who had the right-of-way in the incident that has people upset — it’s what DeGise did immediately afterward that people said was wrong. The driver, the daughter of longtime Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise, didn’t stop or even slow down to check on the cyclist and is facing mounting calls to resign because she still did leave the crash scene.
Black didn’t suffer significant injuries — but is angry that a community leader failed to do the right thing.
Black was not seriously injured in the incident — he managed to get to his feet after he was struck — but voiced his displeasure that the councilwoman did not stop following the crash.
“[That] someone of prestige would fall to a point where they would ignore the law they are demanding to uphold, and they are trying to clean our streets or whatever they are calling it, they can’t even do it themselves — that really upsets me,” Black said in an interview with HudPost on Tuesday.
A Twitter user posted the video of the crash with the tweet “Jersey City Council Member Amy DeGise didn’t slow down, hit a bicyclist with her 3500lb SUV, and fled the scene. She’s still in office. There’s no “process” to play out, nothing’s “alleged”—she turned herself in to the police (6 hours later) Resign.”
Watch the video:
Jersey City Council Member Amy DeGise didn't slow down, hit a bicyclist with her 3500lb SUV, and fled the scene. She's still in office.
There's no "process" to play out, nothing's "alleged"—she turned herself in to the police (6 hours later)
— 𝙼𝚊𝚛𝚌 𝙳𝚎𝚟𝚎𝚗𝚜 (@mdevens) July 31, 2022
Another Twitter user posted a different angle of the video of the crash with the tweet “Resign. Now.,” directed at the councilwoman.
Resign. Now. pic.twitter.com/Z5bUT2x6ch
— 🐚 (@clammyfresh) July 26, 2022
Although DeGise appeared to have the right of way. A police report shows Degise was issued two summonses for leaving the scene of an accident and failing to report an accident. Her first court date has been scheduled for Jersey City Municipal Court on Aug 15, although her case will likely be moved out of the city and probably out of Hudson County since her father, Tom DeGise, is the county executive.
Despite facing criticism, a spokesperson for DeGise told news outlets on Friday that the councilwoman would not resign.
DeGise, a former school board member and former Hudson County Democratic Organization chairwoman, was elected to the city council in November.
Spokesman Phil Swibinski released this statement obtained by Patch.com Friday:
“Councilwoman DeGise was elected overwhelmingly just a few months ago and she has no intention of walking away from the commitment she made to serve the people of Jersey City. She will not resign and plans to complete her full term and continue in public service.
“Amy recognizes the calls that have been made for additional information and transparency. She would very much like to address this situation more comprehensively, but there is a legal process that must play out first and she will not be making any additional public comment at this time.”
Swibinsky added, “As she has said previously, she is thankful that no one was seriously injured and she fully intends to speak out more when the legal process is concluded. She will continue working hard to serve the people who elected her, just as she has since she was inaugurated in January.”
In an interview with NJ Spotlight News on Monday, Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop criticized DeGise’s move to leave the crash scene, describing it as a “tremendous mistake.”
Fulop did add, however, that DeGise took some responsibility for the incident.
Ward F Councilman Frank Gilmore stated, “After carefully reviewing the CCTV footage, considering a council member hit an individual with her SUV and left the scene without checking on the individual am calling for the resignation of Council member DeGise. These behaviors are not indicative of someone in elected office.”
After carefully reviewing the CCTV footage, considering a council member hit an individual with her SUV, and left the scene without checking on the individual am calling for the resignation of Council member DeGise. These behaviors are not indicative of someone in elected office. pic.twitter.com/KcCysAvoWB
— Frank Educational Gilmore (@EducationalGil1) July 27, 2022
After viewing the CCTV video showing @Amy_DeGise fleeing the scene after colliding with a cyclist at the intersection of Forrest and MLK, @bikejc and @SafeStreetsJC release the following joint statement: pic.twitter.com/bz5ZyXEHuJ
— 🚲Bike JC🗽 (@bikejc) July 27, 2022
100 Percent Fed Up reported on July 27, 2022, another tragic situation that involved an elected official. Wisconsin Democratic leader Janet Bewley was involved in a horrific car accident that killed two people: a 27-year-old woman and her 5-year-old daughter.
Bewley did not suffer any serious injuries in the collision.
Brandon Fink with Alyssa Ortman and daughter Khali
The mourning father has insisted that the politician must be treated like “anyone else” and not receive special treatment because of her political position.
“I found out a Senator killed my baby, and they might not even press charges even though she was on the phone during the accident,” Fink said to the Daily Mail. “And just had cataract surgery the day before. I’m furious and want this Senator to come to justice and pay for what she did like anyone else would have to.”
“She shouldn’t get away with this,” Fink added.
DeGise Victim Speaks Out
Black, the victim, told CBS on Wednesday that DeGise had not reached out to him and that he was making a delivery for Uber Eats when he was hit. He said he hasn’t been able to work since.
“Like if you hit someone that speed and just drive away, it seems like that’s not nice to me,”
“I’m still a little shaken up. I have to go to the doctor today to get the pain checked out,” said Andrew Black.
Two Jersey City councilmembers have called on fellow Councilmember Amy DeGise to resign after city officials released the hit-and-run video of DeGise striking a cyclist with her SUV last week, according to NJ.com.
Ward E Councilmen James Solomon and Ward F Councilman Frank “Educational” Gilmore, both critics of the city administration, came forward hours after the video showed DeGise not even slowing down after she hit cyclist Andrew Black.
“I am horrified by the video showing Councilmember DeGise’s hit and run crash,” Solomon said in a statement. “Leaving the scene of a crash is illegal. Doing so demonstrated a callous disregard for the life and health of the victim she hit. Public servants must be held to a higher standard.
A Change.org petition calling for the councilwoman’s resignation had garnered more than 3,500 signatures by Monday morning.