Family, FDU mourn student killed in crash

Source: The Star Ledger
Author: Bill Swayze
Date: February 22, 2003

Friends and family of a Fairleigh-Dickinson University senior who was killed in a car crash in Madison said the 21-year-old marketing major was a happy-go-lucky student with big plans after graduation.

Adrian Cummings, of the Gillette section of Long Hill, was eager to move to Miami, having already enrolled in an advertising school there. He was going to head south right after his May graduation at FDU's Florham Park campus, his 22-year-old sister Ashley said.

"He was really looking forward to going to Miami," she said yesterday. "He was such a good person with a great bunch of friends."

Cummings lost control of his white 1988 Toyota MR2 while traveling east on Madison Avenue, also known as Route 124, near the entrance to the Giralda Farms corporate office campus about 6:20 p.m. Thursday, police Captain John Trevena said.

Cummings' car crossed the roadway into the westbound lanes and he appeared to have been trying to swerve back to his side of the road when an oncoming car crashed into the driver's side of his vehicle, Trevena said.

The student was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the westbound car, Patrizia Giassa, 43, of Chatham, was taken to Morristown Memorial Hospital, where she was treated and released, authorities said.

Trevena said police do not suspect alcohol was involved in the crash and are awaiting the results of toxicology tests. Both drivers, who were in their cars alone, were wearing seat belts.

Trevena also noted many drivers saw the accident, but did not stop to provide police with witness accounts. As a result, police do not know why Cummings lost control of the car. Police suspect Cummings might have been cut off by another driver, or Cummings swerved too far to stay away from the snow at his side of the roadway, Trevena said. Anyone with information is asked to call police at (973) 593-3000.

Ashley Cummings and her brother's roommate since freshman year, Ian Bouie, 21, of Plainfield, said they do not know where Adrian Cummings was heading at the time of the crash. Bouie noted friends of the Watchung Hills Regional High School graduate were gathering yesterday to plan a memorial service on the college campus. Funeral arrangements also were being planned.

Cummings, who was a Lenny Kravitz and Bob Marley fan and took pride in his physique, working out at a gym four times a week, was "very outgoing, carefree and happy-go-lucky. He was such a great guy. A class act," Bouie said.

Besides his sister, he is survived by his parents, two grandfathers and a grandmother.

  2nd Story: Victim in fatal crash identified

By Minauti Dave, Daily Record

The victim of a two-car crash on Madison Avenue Thursday was identified Friday as Adrian Cummings, a 21-year-old Fairleigh Dickinson University student.

Police said Cummings, of Long Hill, lost control of his car and crashed into an oncoming vehicle.

He was leaving the university's Florham Park campus and his 1988 Toyota MR2 was eastbound on Madison Avenue near Danforth Road, police said, when his car crossed into the westbound lane for an undetermined reason. It collided with a 2002 Audi driven by Patrizia Giassa, 43, of Chatham.

The front end of the Audi struck the Toyota on the driver's side door area, causing severe head injuries to Cummings, police said. The Madison Fire Department used the Jaws of Life to free Cummings from his car.

Paramedics from Morristown Memorial Hospital were dispatched, and Cummings was pronounced dead at the scene.

Both her seatbelt and a driver's side airbag prevented Giassa from suffering serious injuries. She was taken to Morristown Memorial Hospital, where she was treated for minor injuries and released.

Toxicology test results are pending as the investigation continues, but police do not suspect that drugs or alcohol caused the accident. Road conditions, speed and equipment failure do not appear to have contributed to the accident, police said.