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Brick Man Struck, Killed on Route 70 While Pushing Disabled Vehicle

Two crashes resulted in 40-year-old township man losing his life

A township man was struck by a car and killed Thursday night as he attempted to push his disabled vehicle off Route 70, police said.

William J. Cassano, 40, died after being struck as he was attempting to push his disabled 1988 Toyota 4Runner SUV to the shoulder of the state highway at approximately 8:43 p.m.

The vehicle had become disabled in the center travel lane of Route 70 eastbound approximately 150 feet west of the Burnt Tavern Road Extension, according to Brick Police Sgt. David Bedrosian.

During the course of pushing his vehicle, a passerby pulled onto the shoulder of Route 70 to offer assistance to Cassano at about the same time a 1990 Buick driven by William Cox, 23, of Freehold, hit the disabled 4Runner from behind.

The force of the crash launched Cassano approximately 30 feet toward the center median, Bedrosian said in a statement, but the passerby told police he got up and indicated he was OK. Shortly thereafter, however, Cassano was struck by a second vehicle, a 2009 Toyota Yaris being driven by Courtney J. Bannigan, 23, of Brick.

Bannigan, who was traveling eastbound, struck the Buick after hitting Cassano. The Buick had initially come to rest in the left travel lane of Route 70 eastbound at the intersection with Burnt Tavern Road, but after the second crash, ended up in the middle of the intersection. The Toyota came to a stop in the center median after striking a sign.

Cassano became pinned between the two vehicles, said Bedrosian. He sustained multiple injuries as a result of the crash, and succumbed to those injuries at the scene.

Neither of the other two drivers, nor the pedestrian who had initially stopped to help, were injured.

Brick Police Sgt. Covert and Ptl. Boronkas were the first arriving officers on the scene, followed by multiple police and paramedic units. Brick Police EMS, Brick Volunteer EMS and MONOC paramedics responded to the call as well as the Laurelton fire company. Members of the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office and Ocean County Sheriff's Department also investigated.

The accident left Route 70 closed in both directions between Burnt Tavern Road and Herbertsville Road for about three hours, Bedrosian said.

The investigation into the crash, being conducted by Bedrosian, Ptl. Jay Lampiasi and Ptl. Scott Dierking is ongoing. Anyone who may have witnessed the crash is being asked to contact the Brick Police Traffic Safety Unit at 732-262-1140.

Hollowman May 04, 2012 at 05:52 PM
Never attempt to set up road flares behind tour vehicle if you are in traffic. Wait in your car, put on your hazards if they work, call the police. If you absolutely must leave you're vehicle wait for a safe opportunity when traffic is either stopped due to a traffic light or when and only when you are absolutely certain there are no cars coming. If you need to, try to exit out the passenger door so you are at least exitin either off the roadway or closer to the shoulder.
BrickGirl May 04, 2012 at 06:08 PM
Arrived at the scene at 8:44, saw the wreckage.. So frightening. RIP and condolences to the family. Thanking god my boyfriend and I were running a few minutes late.
Jebidiah Stone May 04, 2012 at 06:17 PM
You're a hypocrite, saying no one should say the people involved should be punished, and then you say "I hope you endure something so tragic where you are punished unfairly". Shut the hell up you self-righteous moron.
Andy Barcellona May 04, 2012 at 06:31 PM
Aren't we suppose to have control of our vehicle at all times? Maybe I took my drivers test many years ago but I don't think the rules have changed since. People need to slow down and concentrate on driving and this comes from education by parents and good driving habits.. Like the old saying "the life you save may be your own".
KingNeptune May 04, 2012 at 09:06 PM
Lower then 50mph on a major highway??? You might want to think about moving to amish country. This way you can drive a horse and buggy and feel safe.
KingNeptune May 04, 2012 at 09:08 PM
88 isn't a divided highway with a jersey barrier. Rt 70 was designed for that speed, Rt 88 was not.
KingNeptune May 04, 2012 at 09:14 PM
So, you've investigated the accident and know all the particulars already. Awesome!
KingNeptune May 04, 2012 at 09:18 PM
So, you know for a fact the other 2 cars were speeding? Maybe they simply didn't see him. It was dark out you know.
Josh P May 04, 2012 at 09:37 PM
Nobody realizes that lowering the speed limit does not solve the issue... It's stupid careless mistakes that are the issues. I do not point the finger of blame because accidents are accidents. I don't think 2 23 year olds said hey let's run down a citizen who broke down in the middle of one of the busiest highways in nj...
barbara May 04, 2012 at 09:47 PM
How horrible, so sad............RIP feel for the family and friends.
LJ74 May 05, 2012 at 12:10 AM
EXACTLY! Now those two 'Kids' have to live with it
LJ74 May 05, 2012 at 12:14 AM
EXACTLY! I lived there and have seen 6 deaths and NO ONE has done anything to LOWER that SL on that road or BURNT tavern for that matter.
LJ74 May 05, 2012 at 12:16 AM
No another...RT. 70 http://brick.patch.com/articles/4-injured-1-charged-with-dwi-in-brick-accident
LJ74 May 05, 2012 at 12:17 AM
Right one. They need not let you drive until you are 35. 22yr olds can't handle it
Michael Vamvas May 05, 2012 at 12:26 AM
It is ashame this happened. Was anyone paying attention? Its almost like people do not look ahead when they drive anymore.....its like they drive just to drive. Driving is not a hobby. It takes a lot of skill and a lot of detail....
C May 05, 2012 at 02:25 AM
On my home from Walmart, I actually saw him trying to push his car off the road. It had to be the same man who died. I don't know why I noticed him but I did. He was leaning in his car to steer it when I passed. I feel so terrible that he didn't make it.
Jason Kone May 05, 2012 at 02:52 AM
Wow, some of you people need to relax. This guy was pushing his car after dark on a state divided highway. I feel for his relatives & all, but that is just a terrible decision. I've never been involved in an accident like that, but as a Dr. I've treated a ton of people involved, and paying attention or not, when it is that dark on a divided (implying no pedestrians) highway, all bets are off. It just creates complete chaos, no matter how attentive you are. It just makes me sick to read the commentors calling for these young people for hitting a pedestrian in the middle of a dark highway. Assuming they were texting just bc of their age also is just as bad as assuming somebody was black bc of a robbery or someone was a female bc of bad driving, etc - no need for that. If this was your kid, would you be calling for them to be locked away, this wasn't someone speeding down a cul de sac sidewalk, this was an after dark accident on a busy state highway.
Gary May 05, 2012 at 03:23 PM
It's unfair to assume the two 23 year old drivers were texting, but when I look around as I drive or am walking my dog... it seems almost everyone under the age of 30 is looking down at their phones while driving... so that's why we assume.... because that's what you see all the time.
T May 05, 2012 at 05:31 PM
If you HIT SOMETHING in FRONT of YOU from BEHIND, IT"S YOUR FAULT! It doesn't matter if the driver in front of you SLAMS on his BRAKES for NO REASON, YOU should BE AWARE AT ALL TIMES. Careless driving leading to MANSLAUGHTER! Drug/alcohol testing should also be required at the scene. My thoughts and prayers for the family of the deceased.
Sophia Loyd May 06, 2012 at 12:15 AM
This is a real shame, God Bless his this mans family. I am not sure how you hit a car that is not moving. I attempted to get on to 70 after this happened it was still not completely dark out given the time, so I am really questioning what these drivers were doing while driving. As for if he had hazards on or a blinker -- sometimes when your car dies putting lights on is not an option if the battery happens to die, and that is the worst luck but this should be a message to be more observant when you are driving. I would not be able to live with my self knowing my ignorance and lack of paying attention aided in the death of another person.
Baltasar Gracian May 06, 2012 at 06:16 AM
The news rarely gives the full story and that's something everyone should keep in mind, especially the commenter "Dan" who is blaming EVERYTHING on the girl driver (which is ignorant). I agree that for the first car to have hit a stalled out SUV in the middle of the road there must have been some severe negligence on the part of the driver. However, having read that the man was thrown 30' left towards the meridian, and that the first car that hit him came to rest PAST the SUV and the victim, I think it's highly probable that the girl who hit the victim was probably paying attention to the just recently wrecked vehicles on her right side of the road as she was passing them, never thinking that the victim would be 30' ahead in the road near the meridian. I don't know what the first driver who hit him was doing, but I suspect the second driver was probably more distracted by the recent wrecks on the side of the road than by anything else. Freak accidents happen, and it's a shame, but to blame everything on this girl is an injustice.
J twizzle May 07, 2012 at 03:04 AM
You have no idea what your talking about. The cop investigating on this accident commented how there are numerous deaths just like this one that occur on this stretch of 70 all the time. It's a dangerous place to be out of your vehicle for starters; and even more dangerous when its rainy, foggy, and night time. The driver was also standing "in front" of the SUV trying to push it. I dont know about you, but I cant too easily see through metal objects. And if your trying to give a fair outlook on what happened; lets think a bout a rainy dark highway with a suv stopped in the middle with no lights on. It would be pretty hard to tell the vehicle is disabled untill your right on top of it, wouldn't you say? and it would be even harder to see a person standing in front of that same suv, right? Last time you pushed your car off the road, did you get in front of it with no lights on and try pushing it.. backwards? to the shoulder from middle lane? without being able to steer it left or right? save your investigation for csi miami.. these kids were equally victims of this guys reckless and totally unsafe behavior. Did I mention he was also a truck driver for 17 years?
J twizzle May 07, 2012 at 03:10 AM
Maybe a good person but not a bright person.. especially if he left his hazards off and then proceeded to get out of the car... sounds to me like this guy was probably drunk, and now two kids have a tragedy on their shoulders.
KC May 07, 2012 at 04:44 AM
Dear God, Militant, What do you call a militant anti-theist at a funeral? All dressed up w/ no place to go. Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.
Hollowman May 07, 2012 at 07:01 AM
Why does patch even allow comments to be posted on stories like these?? They arent needed, no one ever has anything positive to contribute to the story, and majority of people come on here to throw around baseless accusations and assumptions in an already tragically sad situation. None of you know anything about the actions of any of the drivers prior to the acident, or of the victim himself, and to believe you know or understand otherwise is foolish and offensive at least. Post well-wishes if you must but why does anyone feel the need to come on here and pass judgment on ANYONE, be it right or wrong?? Comments on stories of accidents or tragic deaths should be shut down out of respect for the family members of all involved.
MILITANT ANTI-THEIST May 07, 2012 at 01:54 PM
KC, odd enough... before i get turned into dust, I've instructed my wife to inform everyone they must wear sweatpants to my wake or they will not be allowed in. In the coffin I will be wearing a shirt that reads "trust me, there is no after life". SAVE LIVES - KILL RELIGION
T.Love May 08, 2012 at 01:50 PM
I couldn't of said that better Hollowman. Condolences to his friends & family & even though Will is not here the way u want him to be, remember he is here spiritually. Pls put faith into a higher power that everything happens according to GODS plan & judgements will be passed only by him. Prayers to all involved.
MJ Fletcher May 12, 2012 at 03:32 PM
On Monday, I saw a man kneeling and praying at the intersection of Rt 70 & Brunttraven/Bridge Ave Extention.. (Not knowing this story yet) It was obvious someone very dear, special and loved had been killed! Now, there is a cross and rocks marking the stop where William Cassano, a young man loss his life in such terrible circumstances! We must "always" remember.. "We are very "fragile" as humans in everyway and we "all" should always use the utmost caution and care with our car on the roads! My husband Marty and I send our most heart felt sympathies to the Cassano famlies and our sincere condolences to the other people involved who have to carry this tragic weight for a very long time to come! MJ Fletcher
proudnot2bliberal May 12, 2012 at 03:59 PM
Im taking bets were the young driver on the cell phone or texting? I bet they thought they could drive & text/talk at the same time. The drivers couldnt see 2 vehilces w/emeregnecy flashers on. Now a man is dead.
proudnot2bliberal May 12, 2012 at 04:07 PM
They dont need to lower the speed limit they need to ENFORCE IT! They need to enforce many of the driving laws here in NJ. The state deficit could be wiped out in less than 6 months. I use to drive 35K+ miles a year,I have driven from ME to FL to MO & everywhere BW. I have seen drivers ticketed far more in "real states" than here in NJ & they have much much lower insurance, accident & death rates. Enforcement is the key.

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