2005-12-30 / Front Page

Elderly Man Hits Youth

Driver Says Sun Glare Kept Him From Seeing Clearly
By Howard Schwach

An elderly Neponsit man ran his car right through a stop sign and flashing lights on a stopped school bus and sent a 12-year-old girl to the hospital on December 16, police say.

According to police reports Edward D. Re, 85, was driving his 2003 Chevrolet eastbound on Cronston Avenue between Beach 130 and Beach 129 Streets at about 3:15 p.m. when he passed the school bus that was discharging students.

The 12-year-old girl, identified as Jesse McDade by her parents, and four of her friends had just exited the bus and were crossing the street in front of the vehicle when Re struck her, knocking her down.

Re, a former Chief Judge of the Court of International Trade and a Law Professor at St. John’s University, admitted to police that he passed the bus adding that he did not see the flashing lights because of “sun glare.” McDade, a student at the Scholar’s Academy at MS 180 in Rockaway Beach, was the only one of the five students who was struck, the others scattered as the car neared.

The bus driver, Serge George, called 911 and McDade was taken to Peninsula Hospital Center with injuries that were termed as “not serious” by her parents. She was treated and released by the hospital.

Police say that no summonses were issued to Re because of his contention that he could not see the flashing lights and the bus’ stop sign.

The girl’s parents, however, are not happy with that decision.

“It was 3:15 in the afternoon and he was going east,” Claudia McDade, the young girl’s mother told The Wave in an interview this week. “The sun does not set in the east.”

Tom McDade, the girl’s father, who was at the scene shortly after the accident because the bus driver called him directly after calling 911, said that he went back to the scene the next day.

“The sun was coming from the ocean,” he said.

“There is no excuse for him not seeing the lights,” McDade said.

Tom McDade said that his daughter suffered minor injuries to her left shoulder and hip as well as her right foot.

“She really lost it,” he said. “She couldn’t talk. All she did was cry. She couldn’t even tell the EMT in the ambulance where she was hurt.”

McDade voiced the family’s concern that Re was not ticketed because he and his family are well known in Rockaway and because he is a former judge. He added that Re’s daughter, Nancy Cregan, who was in the car, came up to him at the accident scene and told him that the school bus’ flashing lights were not on. However, the bus driver and other witnesses said the flashing lights were on and that the stop sign was deployed.

McDade added that when he asked the police officer who was taking the report whether Re was getting special treatment, the officer threw up his hands and walked away.

McDade says that the officer told him that Re could not be summonsed because no police officer had witnessed the accident.

That officer was not available for comment.

A unidentified woman who answered the phone at the Re residence on Thursday morning declined to comment on the accident except to say, “It was an accident and we hope that the young girl is in good health.”

Re, who served in the Judge Advocate General’s office during World War II, was appointed by President John F. Kennedy to the United States Customs Court. He was named Chief Judge of that court by President Jimmy Carter.

He is also the author of a number of legal textbooks and casebooks.

While police officially reported the accident scene as Newport Avenue, witnesses and the girl’s parents told The Wave that it actually happened on Cronston Avenue, a one-way street that allows only eastbound traffic.

In the car with Re at the time of the accident were his wife, Margaret, 83 and his daughter, Nancy Cregan, all of whom refused medical attention at the scene.

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