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Newton Man Awarded $2.65M Following West Milford Pothole-Prompted Motorcycle Crash

Roger Gates, now 67, hit several potholes and collided with a van when riding his motorcycle on Oak Ridge Road the evening of April 14, 2016.
Roger Gates, now 67, hit several potholes and collided with a van when riding his motorcycle on Oak Ridge Road the evening of April 14, 2016. Photo Credit: Google Maps (Street View)

A Newton man was awarded $2.65 million nearly four years after he was seriously injured during a motorcycle accident in West Milford, reports say.

Roger Gates, now 67, hit several potholes and collided with a van when riding his motorcycle on Oak Ridge Road the evening of April 14, 2016, NJHerald reports.

Gates, who is no longer able to work, sustained serious upper-body injuries from the crash, including multiple fractured ribs, a fractured back and shoulder blade, a collapsed lung, torn neck ligaments and nerve damage to his bladder, bowel and groin areas.

He had to undergo several operations and is still receiving medical treatment, the report says.

Represented by Newton attorney Jeffrey Patti, Gates said he noticed several potholes and "rough surface areas" on the roadway prior to the accident.

Ronald Hunt, who represented Passaic County in the case, argued that Gates failed to wear his corrective lenses and hearing aid and had a history of speeding.

Gates' wife, Lorraine, returned to the scene of the crash the following day and noticed the West Milford Road Department filling in some of the same potholes that contributed to the accident, reports say.

Other documents show that the road was classified as ‘in need of repaving’ in 2016 but was pushed back due to the shutdown of all Transportation Trust Fund Projects by former Gov. Chris Christie.

The road was eventually resurfaced in 2018.

A six-member jury deliberated for more than four hours before coming to a verdict in Passaic County Superior Court on Jan. 31.

In addition to the $2.65 million, Gates was also awarded more than $756,000 for the reimbursement of medical expenses.

These funds will come from the general revenue accounts of Passaic County, reports say.

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