A Lavallette man was charged with careless driving after hitting a bicycle driven by a 26-year-old East Hanover woman on Bridge Avenue, according to police and the woman's family.
The impact knocked down the bicycle and its driver, Lauren Pucciarello, causing cuts, bruises and two broken fingers at about 10:44 a.m. Saturday, said Cris Pucciarello, Lauren's mother.
"We're taking her to an orthopedist today to make sure there are no broken bones, other than her fingers, and that she's OK," said Cris Pucciarello. "We think she'll be OK. It could have been a lot worse."
Kevin Brice, 58, of Lavallette, was charged after hitting the front of the bicycle driven by Lauren Pucciarello in front of condominiums at 2230 Bridge Ave. on Saturday, said Police Chief Larry Williams on Monday.
Williams said Brice had seen a bicycle driven by another bicyclist ahead of Lauren, but didn't see Lauren riding behind him and drove into her bicycle.
Williams said the written police report states that Pucciarello and her boyfriend were riding east on the eastbound shoulder of Bridge Avenue when Brice pulled out of the condominium driveway and hit her. He said the report does not indicate which way Brice was going to turn.
However, Cris Pucciarello, Lauren's mother, insisted on Monday that her daughter, and her boyfriend, Jeff Hochman, 30, were biking west on the sidewalk towards Beaver Dam Road to return to the family's secondary home on Northstream Parkway when the driver pulled out to turn left onto Bridge and hit the front of her daughter's bicycle.
Wiliams said a left turn is allowed in that particular spot, but that he did not know if Brice had intended to, or started to, turn left.
The borough First Aid Squad treated Pucciarello at the scene and transported her to Ocean Medical Center, Brick, where she was treated, X-rayed and stitched in her inner left thigh, where the pedal of the bicycle had pushed into her when she was knocked down, said Cris Pucciarello.
She was bruised all over her body from the neck down and the left pointer and middle fingers are broken, Cris Pucciarello said.
"She's really sore and sleeping now," she said. "She was given pain medication, but doesn't like to take them."
The family is now back home in East Hanover.
Cris Pucciarello said she, her daughter, her boyfriend and the whole family are so grateful to the numerous local residents who stopped to help.
"The people of Point Pleasant were so great," she said. "Her boyfriend is a police officer in Morris County and he could not believe how many people stopped to help. Four or five people said they had seen the whole thing and gave Jeff their names and numbers.
"Someone offered a towel, other people talked to her while he was calling 911. People were asking if they could buy anything at the store for them. He just couldn't believe how many people stopped to help. The first aid squad and police were also very helpful.
"The driver of the car stayed there, he was very apologetic," Cris Pucciarello said.
The first aid squad treated Lauren at the scene, put her on a board and neck brace, applied pressure to her leg and gave her oxygen because her blood pressure was high, her mother said.
Lauren was released from the hospital at about 4 p.m. that day.
Now she's eager to rest and get better to get back to the hospital, but not as a patient. She works at St. Barnabas as an emergency room nurse manager.