Wunder Wiener crash driver said he may have fallen asleep
BERKELEY TOWNSHIP — The driver of the SUV that crashed into the Wunder Wiener hot dog stand on Monday initially told police that he may have fallen asleep behind the wheel but then changed his story.
According to the police report obtained by New Jersey 101.5, driver Mark Poplawski told the responding Berkeley Township officer, Patrolman Michael Bulwinski, that "he was tired and may have fallen asleep behind the wheel."
Poplawski later told Bulwinski that he was returning from dropping his son at school in Toms River and didn't remember falling asleep or the crash.
Business owner Gerald LaCrosse, 73, was inside the structure and was hospitalized for internal bleeding after heavy equipment fell on top of him, according to a GoFundMe page created by his son, Jerry, and niece, Clarrisa Fromm.
LaCrosse is also a member of the Borough Council.
Poplawski was charged with careless driving, driving in an unsafe manner, failure to exhibit documents and failure to maintain lane. According to the report, Poplawski hit a utility pole and dragged it just over 40 feet before hitting the Wunder Wiener stand. The impact pushed the structure 22 feet and turned it at a 45-degree angle.
"Mr. Poplawski stated he last remembers seeing Dunkin Doughnuts (sic) then heard three loud crashes and observed that he crashed into the structure. I observed Mr. Poplawski was wearing a neck brace, however he was able to rotate his neck," Bulwinski wrote in his report.
Bulwinski observed that there were no skid marks leading from Route 9 to the building or evidence of any attempt to brake. The officer also said he did not detect drugs, alcohol or any other signs of impairment, including slurred speech, dilated pupils or pin-point pupils.
Poplawski's 2003 Toyota Sequoia is registered to Jessica C. Poplawski, who lives at the same Forked River address.
Fromm said on Facebook that her uncle had a second surgery on Wednesday and there were "complications" after doctors tried to remove his ventilator.