Jersey City, NJ councilman cited for hitting parked car despite leaving note
JERSEY CITY — A city councilman who left a note with his name and number after hitting a parked car is facing three summonses including leaving the scene of an accident.
James Solomon, who represents Ward E, said that he took his children to Lee Sims Chocolates on Bergen Avenue for holiday shopping on Saturday morning.
"While parallel parking I scrapped the car parked in front of me. I immediately wrote a note, apologizing to the owner and provided my name and contact information, placing it under the windshield of the parked car," Solomon said. "I took immediate accountability for my error as all people and especially elected officials should do."
A few hours after the botched parking job, the owner of the parked car contacted Solomon using the information on the note. They have filed an insurance claim, according to Solomon.
"I followed both the law and common decency in placing a note with an apology and my contact information under the parked car’s windshield," Solomon told New Jersey 101.5.
The second-term councilman was also issued summonses for failure to report an accident and driving an unregistered vehicle. The summonses were issued by the municipal prosecutor's office which is headed by Jacob Hudnut, an appointee of Mayor Steven Fulop.
What should NJ drivers do if they hit a parked car?
Responding to an inquiry to Hudnut's office, Jersey City spokeswoman Kim Wallace-Scalcione said prosecutors issued the summonses based on two New Jersey statutes.
"Every single person is held to the same standards," Wallace-Scalcione said. "In this case, violation 39:4-129 pertains to leaving correct contact info. Additionally, NJ statute 39:4-130 is failure to report a motor vehicle accident resulting in property damage."
Statute 39:4-129 states that when an unattended vehicle is struck, the driver of the striking vehicle must leave a written notice "in a conspicuous place." It adds the driver must also notify local police.
The other statute referenced by Wallace-Scalcione, 39:4-130, says that the driver of a vehicle involved in an accident that causes damages in excess of $500 must contact police in the quickest way possible. It's not clear how a driver would accurately assess the cost of damages at the scene.
Jersey City Council car troubles
Solomon has been a vocal critic of the mayor and his allies, including Councilwoman Amy DeGise. The at-large councilwoman made national headlines when she was caught on security video hitting an UberEats bicyclist and leaving the scene without slowing down in July.
At the time, Solomon called on DeGise to resign.
Nearly one month after the hit-and-run, DeGise said at an August council meeting that she would not resign and would wait until the court process had ended to answer questions from the public.
Saturday's incident marks the second time a member of City Council has been cited for leaving the scene of an accident this year.