NORTH BRUNSWICK — A long-time school maintenance worker spraying weeds along a curb was struck and killed by a car while on the job Wednesday morning.
South Brunswick Police said Dean Battaglia, 53, was working at the Crossroads North Middle School on Georges Road when he was hit. He was pronounced dead at the scene by first responders after attempting life-saving measures. The driver that struck Battaglia stayed at the scene, according to police.
Spokeswoman Brynn Krause of the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office said Battaglia was working in front of the school at the time of the crash but did not know if that is considered school grounds. She also did not know if the driver had been charged.
Georges Road was closed for four hours after the crash.
A school district in shock
South Brunswick Schools Superintendent Scott Feder in a letter to the school community wrote that Battaglia was a "beloved" member of the district who also drove a school bus during this academic year.
"Our thoughts and prayers are for his family, colleagues and friends. We are all grieving this sad loss," the superintendent wrote in a letter.
"The South Brunswick Police Department extends our deepest condolences to the South Brunswick School District on the loss today. We have no words, but as a community we will work to support our District and one another as best we can during this difficult time," South Brunswick Police Chief Raymond Hayducka and Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone said in a joint statement.
Feder said Battaglia had a son and daughter. His fiancee had three daughters, two of whom attend South Brunswick High School.
Dan Alexander is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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These are the best hiking spots in New Jersey
A trip to New Jersey doesn't have to be all about the beach. Our state has some incredible trails, waterfalls, and lakes to enjoy.
From the Pine Barrens to the Appalachian Trail to the hidden gems of New Jersey, you have plenty of options for a great hike. Hiking is such a great way to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature, plus it's a great workout.
Before you go out on the trails and explore some of our listeners' suggestions, I have some tips on hiking etiquette from the American Hiking Society.
If you are going downhill and run into an uphill hiker, step to the side and give the uphill hiker space. A hiker going uphill has the right of way unless they stop to catch their breath.
Always stay on the trail, you may see side paths, unless they are marked as an official trail, steer clear of them. By going off-trail you may cause damage to the ecosystems around the trail, the plants, and wildlife that live there.
You also do not want to disturb the wildlife you encounter, just keep your distance from the wildlife and continue hiking.
Bicyclists should yield to hikers and horses. Hikers should also yield to horses, but I’m not sure how many horses you will encounter on the trails in New Jersey.
If you are thinking of bringing your dog on your hike, they should be leashed, and make sure to clean up all pet waste.
Lastly, be mindful of the weather, if the trail is too muddy, it's probably best to save your hike for another day.
I asked our listeners for their suggestions of the best hiking spots in New Jersey, check out their suggestions: