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Mayor Schneider: Tuesday An 'Unprecedented' Day in Long Branch History

The incidents - a sand collapse, a pedestrian struck - occurred within minutes of each other

 

Tuesday, July 17 will be a day most Long Branch residents will not soon forget, as one family's life was changed forever.

In 20 minutes, a .

The 12-year-old Oakhurst boy, whose name has not been released by police, after spending the night in an intensive care unit at Monmouth Medical Center. The pedestrian and his daughter are recovering in Jersey Shore Medical Center, and the firefighter who hit them was just trying to get through his final day in the department before he retired.

"We've had other incidents in town over the years, but I've never heard of anything like this in my 22 years as mayor," Long Branch Mayor Adam Schneider said on Wednesday. "You think to yourself 'how is this possible.' "

Schneider said that after the drowning at the beach near Pier Village six weeks ago, he met with every department to discuss "what we could do and how could we do it better."

"However, it never occurred to us that something like this would happen," Mayor Schneider said. "Every kid that goes to the beach does something similar, whether it's digging a hole or building a sandcastle, but we don't really know what happened here."

Schneider said he still is not sure what occurred at the beach and said he has not seen the police report. He did say regardless of what happened, that the lifeguards should not be at fault.

"This happened behind them and their job is to look at the people in the water," Schneider said. "I know the lifeguards who were on the scene are very upset and we will make sure they get the help they need."

He said regulating the type of activities children do on the beach and in the sand is "not something we can legislate."

"One of the things we will look at is if there was anything we could have done better," Schneider said. "I don't know the answer right now."

Long Branch Police Capt. Jason Roebuck said the man who was struck by the fire truck responding to the incident with the 12-year-old boy suffered a broken hip and was having surgery on Wednesday. He did not know the status of his child, but said she did not suffer serious injuries.

The man has been identified by multiple news organizations as Richard Polasdas, 46 of Lakewood, Colorado.

The fire truck driver who hit him was Kevin Hoy, according to Capt. Roebuck. Mayor Schneider said Hoy's last day as a firefighter was yesterday.

"He was retiring at the close of business on Tuesday after 30 years," Schneider said. "He had an unblemished record for 30 years and then this happened. It's a terrible coincidence and he is very upset."

It is unknown if Hoy is facing any charges at this time.

Despite everything that occurred on Tuesday, Schneider said he was impressed with how well everybody worked together to get the pedestrians and the 12-year-old boy to the hospital as quickly as they did.

However, the fact that two deaths have occurred on Long Branch beaches in the last six months is still a tragedy for all involved.

"When something like this happens, you just feel numb," Schneider said.

Margaret July 19, 2012 at 10:01 PM
The last time I looked life guards primary job is to ensure the safety of swimmers in ocean. Now that numerous rip currents are a every day occurrence, which would you prefer, life guards watching for possible drowning victims or life guards watching kids dig in the sand.
DJGigs July 20, 2012 at 12:05 AM
Margret , You obviously have not grown up on a beach front. Section 9 under communications clearly states " supervisors and life guards shal report and discuss all possible dangers. That includes telling people not to dig holes. They are required to have shovels down on the beach to fill these holes in http://www.state.nj.us/dep/parksandforests/parks/docs/2012_Lifeguard_Ocean_Manual.pdf
Kevin Cieri July 20, 2012 at 12:57 PM
What page number in this manual states about telling people not to dig holes? I just searched the entire document and couldn't find anything on the subject. You might have attached the wrong document link. If it's not in there, maybe it should be included in the 2013 version, as this tragedy may be avoided in the future.
ItsJustMe July 21, 2012 at 09:42 AM
Let's not blame or point fingers a life was lost... let's learn from this tragedy... parents have ur lil pep talk with ur kids b4 stepping foot on the beach... I personaly don't let my son go to the beach and we only 2 blocks away... my prayers go out to the family
Big Whitey July 21, 2012 at 11:30 AM
I guess the City will post signs warning about digging in the sand next to the one about rip currents. They may also wish to post about looking out for kids driving up and down the beach and promenade in ATV's, golf carts, and trucks. That is a preventable tragedy. I have been watching the beachfront ,and I am just waiting for a kid to get run over. It will happen again if the Mayor does not act. Adam has done a wonderful job drawing people back to LB, but a poor one of managing them.

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