MANCHESTER – A man riding an ATV in the Heritage Minerals site was involved in a crash with another ATV and is now in critical condition, police said.
The crash happened at around 5:15 p.m. on Aug. 9. John Guzman, 28, of Queens was riding his quad along the south side of the lake when a larger “side-by-side” style ATV struck it head-on. Guzman was ejected from his vehicle. He was not wearing any safety equipment, police said.
When police arrived, he was semi-conscious with significant head trauma and multiple broken bones. Guzman was transported by a Hackensack Meridian Health medevac to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune where he is currently listed in critical but stable condition.
Witnesses told police the other ATV had come out of a nearby small trail, struck his ATV, and then the driver fled the scene.
During the investigation, physical evidence at the scene indicated a 2019 Polaris RZR side-by-side style ATV which matched the witness accounts. Ptl. Michael Anderson of the department’s Traffic Safety Section, along with Det. Danny Barker of the agency’s Investigations Bureau found the suspected vehicle and driver.
Brett Durant, 31, of Scotch Plains, was charged criminally for Knowingly Leaving the Scene of a Motor Vehicle Accident Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury which is a 3rd degree crime. Durant’s Polaris RZR ATV, which had been hidden in a remote wooded location on the property several miles from the scene of the crash was recovered and seized pending forfeiture.
Charges are merely accusations until proven in a court of law.
Manchester police were assisted by firefighters from the Manchester, Ridgeway and Whiting Volunteer Fire Departments, EMTs from the Manchester Township Division of Emergency Services and paramedics from Robert Wood Johnson. The fire personnel were extremely helpful, police said, in using their off road vehicles to transport EMTs and paramedics to the scene.
The Manchester Township Police Department remind the public that the Heritage Minerals or “ASARCO” site is private property. It is closed for recreational and/or other use and it is a criminal offense to enter or remain on the property. In the interest of public safety, the Manchester Township Police urges everyone to obey the “No Trespassing” signs posted at the site. Trespassers are subject to hefty fines and penalties up to and including incarceration for being on the property.