A Jersey City councilwoman is now facing calls for her resignation after a traffic camera video showed her brutally crashing into a bicyclist and continuing to drive, not even appearing to hit her brakes as the man bounces off the hood of her vehicle and lands in the road.
Ann DeGise, a first-term, at-large city council member who happens to be the daughter of powerful Democrat Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise, had the green light as she drove through Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, while the bicyclist appeared to run a red light without looking to see if there were cars coming in either direction. For that reason, the councilwoman did not appear to be the cause of the accident, according to officials.
Despite her not technically being at fault for the July 19 incident, the fact that she did not stop to see if the bicyclist, 31-year-old Uber Eats deliveryman Andrew Black, was okay has elicited outrage among city residents and her colleagues on the city council.
“Past being elected its a living human being, it was really hard for me to witness that,” said Councilman Frank Gilmore. “It’s a matter of public trust, it’s a matter of respect, it’s a matter of human decency.”
Another fellow council member, James Solomon, was one of the first people to sign a change.org petition organized in the wake of the accident calling on DeGise to resign from her position.
“The word I use is horrified, that’s how I felt watching the video,” Solomon told NBCNewYork.com. “She’s an elected official and we have to hold ourselves to a higher standard and that’s why I think she should resign.”
The violent collision sent Black flying off of his bike, with the traffic camera footage showing him bouncing off the hood of DeGise’s SUV and landing in a heap in the middle of the busy street.
The bicyclist could be seen standing up and staggering to the corner of the road, where passersby assisted him. His bike had landed in a tangled heap near the opposite corner of the road. Miraculously, Black suffered no serious injuries from the incident.
“Someone of prestige would fall to the point where they would ignore the law,” Black said in an interview with HudPost.
DeGise has since been charged with failure to report the accident and leaving the scene.
Curiously, she did report the accident — but waited until six hours after it occurred, according to the Jersey Journal.
Several commenters on the YouTube video of the incident, and critics on her Twitter account, have put forth theories as to why the councilwoman left the scene and waited to report the incident, from potential alcohol involvement to having a passenger “who’s presence in their car might be scandalous.”
DeGise announced through a spokesperson that she has no intention of resigning.
Alongside being the daughter of a Democrat county executive, she is also a former school board member and was previously the chairwoman of the powerful Hudson County Democratic Organization.
Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop — a fellow Democrat who ran with DeGise on his ticket in November — spoke out about the incident, calling it a terrible mistake, but avoided calling for the councilwoman to resign.