Old Tappan Crash Downs Wires, Triggers Airbags, Doesn't Keep Driver From Hotel Job In Rockland

A driver who slammed his SUV into a utility pole in Old Tappan kept going -- with all of his airbags deployed -- all the way to his job at a hotel in Rockland County, authorities said.

The hit and run driver "was already back at work inside the hotel when he was located."

The hit and run driver "was already back at work inside the hotel when he was located."

Photo Credit: Orangetown PD, Old Tappan PD

Juan Gonzalez, 48, of Hawthorne, drove off after his 2004 Acura MDX hit the pole on Old Tappan Road, downing utility wires, outside an Exxon station near DeWolf Road shortly before 3 p.m. Monday, Feb. 26.

An alert was immediately broadcast, Old Tappan Police Chief Joseph Tracy said.

Orangetown police found the heavily damaged SUV a short time later at the Residence Inn by Marriott just off the Palisades Interstate Parkway and Route 303 in Orangeburg, roughly 4½ miles from the crash scene.

All of the airbags -- even those on the side -- had been deployed.

Despite the smoky smell from all the triggering explosives, officers reported a strong odor of burned marijuana from inside the vehicle.

Gonzalez "was already inside the hotel back at work when he was located," Tracy said.

He told police he was "driving down the road and the airbags just went off," the chief said. "He said he had no idea he had hit a pole."

Gonzalez was released after being charged with leaving the scene of an accident with property damage, reckless driving, driving on the sidewalk, failing to maintain marked lanes and failing to report the accident.

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