Did traffic chaos allegedly orchestrated by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s office lead to the death of 91-year-old Fort Lee resident Florence Genova?
Not really, the woman’s daughter, Vilma Oleri, told The New York Times.
Reports claimed Wednesday that crippling traffic on the George Washington Bridge prevented emergency responders from getting to Genova’s home in time to resuscitate her.
“I honestly believe it was just her time,” said Oleri, referring to her mother who passed away on Sept. 9, 2013.
A Fort Lee official said in a letter published that same month that the traffic -- which many now believe was arranged as a political punishment by Christie’s office and the Port Authority -- prevented his ambulance from reaching Genova’s home in a timely fashion.
The crippling traffic caused “unnecessary delays for emergency services,” said Fort Lee emergency medical services coordinator Paul E. Favia in the Sept. 10 letter.
“I, myself, was stuck in traffic on Fletcher Avenue and had to jump the curb and cut up West Street in order to avoid the standstill traffic,” he wrote.
It took emergency responders seven minutes to reach Genova’s home because of traffic-related issues.
But by the time they got there, Genova had gone into “cardiac arrest,” the letter added.
Paramedics tried unsuccessfully to revive the woman. They rushed to a nearby hospital and tried again. No luck. Genova was pronounced dead at the hospital.
“We believe she died in her home, but they couldn’t pronounce her until she got to the hospital,” said Frank Oleri, Genova’s son-in-law. “The traffic didn’t make any difference.”
Oleri, who only recently found out that her mother’s death is now entwined in a scandal involving the state’s governor, added: “We want to stay out of it. It’s not political.”
Genova, a wife of 50 years, lived in the Fort Lee house for 50 years.
And although her memory had recently begun to fade, she loved her son, her daughter and her three grandchildren dearly, Vilma Oleri told the Times.
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