Geezer JW plows car into crowd of 13 in front of Stanley Theater Assy. Hall

by joe_from_kokomo 24 Replies latest watchtower scandals

  • joe_from_kokomo

    This story just out in all major newspapers and TV stations across the country. Apparently, a 78-year-old Witness attending the Circuit Assembly meeting at the Stanley Theater in New Jersey lost control of his car and plowed into a crowd of 13 fellow Witnesses, seriously injuring 3 of them.

    Here is the link to just one instance of this story, on the UK Guardian:,1282,-2584228,00.html

    Here is the text of the article:

    Car Injures 13 Pedestrians in New Jersey

    Sunday April 20, 2003 2:30 AM

    JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) - A car accelerated out of control and plowed into a crowd exiting a Jehovah's Witnesses assembly on Saturday, injuring 13 people, police said. Three were seriously hurt.

    The accident happened when a man waiting for his wife to exit the gathering was asked to move his car, said Jersey City Mayor Glenn Cunningham.

    Henry Clax, 78, began to move his vehicle, but did not realize he had the car in reverse and backed into a car parked behind him. Cunningham said the Jersey City man apparently panicked, put his car in drive and accelerated, striking three lampposts and then the crowd.

    Clax then swerved across lanes of traffic before hitting a tree.

    ``People were flying everywhere,'' said Kyler Close, who was one of the injured. ``It was like watching a movie.''

    Cunningham said the injured included five children: two 14-year-olds, a 4-year-old, a 1-year-old and an 18-month-old. None of the toddlers' injuries were considered serious, the mayor said.

    The driver suffered a broken hip and was in surgery Saturday night. The mayor said he was taking medication for various illnesses but was unsure if that had played a role it the accident.

    An estimated 2,700 people were attending the first day of a two-day program at the Jehovah's Witnesses Hall in the former Stanley theater.

    ``This many people being injured in a religious service certainly doesn't make you feel good. We're fortunate it wasn't worse,'' Cunningham said.

    I guess now we'll have a 15 minute part in the Service meeting in the next few weeks on driving carefully around the Kingdom Halls, Assembly Halls, and District Conventions. Certainly much needed and overdue, as some JWs drive very carelessly...

  • rocketman

    Well, could have happened anywhere.

  • blondie

    In fact, I was involved in such an accident, a non-JW did exactly the same thing. Fortunately, everyone involved got only a few bruises. But the path of the car and the dropped items showed that we all could have been seriously injured.


  • joe_from_kokomo

    I wonder if the Society will pick up the tab on the medical bills or if they will expect the 78 yr-old's insurance company to do so. I recall a young brother getting seriously injured during a KH remodel, ended up in the hospital for days and had no insurance, and they were asking for donations to pay for his medical bills.

  • Simon

    There have been numerous cases of old people killing or hurting others.

    I'm sure for some the "test" consisted of turning up with a bloke to walk in frnot of you with a red flag

    They should be made to pass a test beyond a certain age and maybe again at another threshold. We always hear about the young and irresponsible being a danger (and they are) but the old and inept can be just as dangerous.

    There was a case here where an old man backed his car into a wall (which he demolished) but trapped a young mother first and killed her.

  • blondie

    I would expect that his insurance company would be responsible and that the individuals injured would have to sue him as individuals. Unless it can be proven that the parking environment around the assembly hall were illegal in structure or the parking attendants were in the way, I doubt that the circuit will be legally involved. Most circuits and the WTS itself are self-insured.

    I can remember a car accident involving a brother and a non-JW. Several of the brother's passengers were injured. The non-JW did not have insurance. So the brother's passengers had to sue him/his insurance company even though he was not at fault.

    Whether anyone helps out this brother, whether his congregation or others, depends on their personality and individual generous nature. There certainly is no legal requirement.

    I just hope he has goooood insurance.


  • AlanF

    This shows Jehovah's large hand of protection on those doing his will.

    Well doesn't it?

    Bummer about the injuries.


  • BluesBrother

    If you are over 65, you should have to take an annual test , or at least a medical. it is scary that one can still drive when at an age when faculties and mental perception can fade so fast .

    Consolations to those injured.

  • Jourles

    It is sad to hear something like this happen, but like rocketman said, it can happen anywhere. On the flip side though, where were the angels who were supposed to be protecting Jehovah's flock? You know, the same angels that protect the ones who are out in service from the murderers behind closed doors? Just goes to show, time and unforseen occurrance befall us all.... Angels have nothing to do with it.

    I remember back in my jdub line-of-thought days, whenever I heard of an accident involving a jw, I always wondered if the person hurt or killed was inactive, irregular, etc. and THAT was the reason they were hurt/killed - because Big J's angels were not protecting them. I KNOW FOR A FACT that was my mother's rationalization. "See, they were not very active in the hall anymore and Jehovah allowed them to be punished. Makes you want to stay strong in the truth now, doesn't it?" And here I believed it. I was such a dumbass.

  • detective

    It seems fairly lucky that the injured were not so seriously banged up as to need blood transfusions to save their lives. Imagine six or seven of them suffering such trauma and blood loss that they would need transfusions. I'm not sure if that would be a public relations coup or public relations nightmare for the organization. It would have been strange to see how the organization would handle that kind of publicity. It's a good thing more people weren't injured.

Share this