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Residents call for safety changes after police officer struck by truck

Posted: Updated:
MOUNT ARLINGTON -

A group of Morris County residents are calling for increased safety measures on a popular roadway after a police officer was struck and injured by a truck.

Mount Arlington Police Sgt. James Distasio was directing traffic after a crash on Howard Boulevard near Interstate 80 when he was struck by a truck.

People who live in the area tell News 12 New Jersey that the area is hazardous and is not driver or pedestrian friendly.

“It’s just a lot of traffic and maybe some turns that shouldn’t be allowed,” says David Ferrara.

Other residents say that people often speed on the stretch of roadway.

“People get pulled over…coming down that hill because they fly down,” says Kiara Joseph.

Mayor Michael Stanzilis says that the town is working on making the area safer.

“We have to work on getting that part of the road safe. There’s no question about it,” he says.

Mount Arlington officials say that there are short-term and long-term plans to improve the road. For the short term, Stanzilis say that more police will be in the area and they will better enforce traffic laws.

For long-term, the state plans a massive construction project on an I-80 overpass “which reroutes all of the entrances and exits and that will have a traffic-calming effect,” the mayor says.

Sgt. Distasio is expected to recover. Mount Arlington Police Chief Keith Licata says that he has known Distasio since kindergarten. He says that he is wishing the best for his colleague and friend.

“Sgt. Distasio has the most live-saving awards in our department…he's had an outstanding career,” Licata says. “I look forward to getting him back on the road.”

The Morris County Prosecutor’s Office is investigating the crash.

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