Last July 18, Bernard Kenny was found on a rainy morning between two parked cars at Eighth and Bloomfield streets at 6:50 a.m. bleeding from his head, with broken bones and a broken nose.
The senator, dressed in business clothes, could barely remember what had happened.
He told police that he had tripped in a pothole during a morning jog, but the authorities later became convinced that he had been hit by a car.
And the public was suspicious, because there was an intense civil war going on in Hudson County between two factions of the local Democratic party, one of which was led by Kenny and others.
At the time, Kenny was an outgoing state Senator, as well as a former Hudson County Democratic Organization (HCDO) chairman, former state Senate majority leader, and former Budget and Appropriations Committee chairman.
Earlier that year, the HCDO had split into two factions, with Union City Mayor/Assemblyman Brian Stack wanting to take over Kenny’s job as state Senator.
Before that June, Kenny had agreed not to run again, opening the spot for Stack. So theoretically, Kenny wasn’t in anyone’s way – except, perhaps, an unknown driver.
Politics at play?
Since the accident, Kenny has undergone eight operations.
During the accident, he broke his right fibula, suffered four fractures in his pelvis, fractured his nose, and dislocated his right shoulder.
Kenny lives on Bloomfield Street, two blocks from the site where he was found.
“I was found 42 feet from the point of impact.”
– Bernard Kenny
“That morning, there was a heavy, heavy rain,” he said. “It was 6:40 a.m. and I was two blocks from my home, on my way to meet with people. I was hit on the corner of Eighth and Bloomfield. I have no memory of what happened.”
Although he told police about a pothole, he said he wasn’t thinking straight that morning.
State police Captain Al Della Fave said last week, “His injuries were definitely consistent with someone struck with a vehicle.”
Della Fave said that the investigation is ongoing, but that there haven’t been any developments.
He said that if anyone still has any information abut the accident, they can call the state police.
Kenny said, “I believe it was an accident. I think it was a hit and run. I don’t think it was intentional.”
He added, “The person might not have even known that he hit me. It was very, very dark that morning. I remember sitting in my kitchen watching the news that morning and seeing the water pour out of the gutter and come over the window.”
Pedestrians at risk
He said that if he was hit, it was really “no mystery.”
“There are more than a few pedestrian accidents in this city,” he said. “This one was just worse because of the hour.”
“Pedestrians crossing intersections here are at a great risk in these tight cities,” he said.
He added that what he thinks about now is that he’s lucky to be alive.
“I was found 42 feet from the point of impact,” he said. “I’m lucky to be alive. My overwhelming feeling in the months afterward is one of gratitude for having survived.”
He added, “I gave no thought whatsoever to anything else. I was humble to receive the medical care I received from everyone, from nurses’ aides to doctors. I am grateful and humble. That’s what pulled me through.”
He also said that he has had eight operations since the accident, all of which were serious enough for him to be under anesthesia. Just last month, he had an operation on both of his knee caps.
Other hit-and-run not solved
There have been other unsolved hit-and-run accidents in town, including the death of 4th Ward Councilwoman Dawn Zimmer’s father-in-law, Henry Grossbard, in April of 2005. The driver of that vehicle has not been found.
Grossbard was the developer of the radiant-cut diamond, a unique type of cut he designed in 1976.
He was struck and killed while walking his dog at night at the corner of Third Street and Sinatra Drive.
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