Livingston Driver Arrested Following Accident in Short Hills
Friday night's accident on Old Short Hills Road involved two cars and sent six patients to the hospital.
A Livingston resident, Leonid Smukler, was arrested for a suspected DWI, following a two car accident on the intersection between Old Short Hills Road and Fairfield Drive this past weekend.
Laraine and Steve Barach were headed back from a late, quiet dinner at the Millburn Diner on Friday night, at around 10 p.m., traveling north on Old Short Hills Road when all of a sudden, a couple of blocks from their home at Fairfield Drive, they heard and felt an impact big enough to lift the back of their Volkswagen Touareg off the ground and propel them forward.
"We were lifted up and it felt like we were flying, then we slid into an embankment and landed between a pole and a tree," Laraine Barach told Patch. "It was terrifying because it didn't feel like an accident at first because of the sensation of flying. We thought it as a gas explosion or an exploded manhole cover."
It wasn't until they landed with inches to spare between a pole and a tree that they saw the other car, a Mercedes being driven by Smukler, on its side in a nearby residential yard and on fire. Inside the car were four passengers; Smukler and another man in the front seat and two women in the back.
Millburn Police arrived to find Short Hills resident John Cook, who observed the accident, extinguishing the front end of the car. The Millburn Fire Department arrived to extricate the passengers from the Mercedes by stabilizing the vehicle on the ground and cutting off the roof.
The two women, sitting in the back seat, were taken to UMDNJ by the Millburn/Short Hills Volunteer First Aid Squad with possible leg injuries. The two men, as well as the Barachs, were treated by the South Orange Rescue Squad and transported to Saint Barnabas Medical Center.
When police interviewed Smukler, they smelled a strong scent of alcohol on his breath. Smukler stated that he had just come from Khum Thai in Short Hills and had consumed three glasses of wine. Since Smukler was immobilized on a backboard, field sobriety tests were not performed.
Smukler was treated for a laceration to his leg and required ten staples to close it. Laraine Barach suffered a broken nose and cheek, while Steve Barach suffered some bruised ribs and bruising elsewhere.
"It was a spectacular shock," Laraine Barach said. "We feel so lucky to be alive. A few inches in either direction and at least one of us would have been dead. It feels like some kind of divine intervention that we're here at all. Hopefully the two women who taken to Newark made it."