Embattled Councilwoman Amy DeGise sat for an interview last night and answered questions surrounding her July 19, 2022 hit-and-run collision with a cyclist.
DeGise told NJ Spotlight’s David Cruz that she was unaware until much later in the day that she had hit bike rider Andrew Black. The crash took place at approximately 8 am.
Asked by Cruz what she believed had happened when she entered the intersection of Martin Luther King Drive and Forrest Street, DeGise responded “I hit a bad bump, or at least that’s what it felt like.”
DeGise explained that at that time of day “the sun is kind of glaring into the windshield.” But she also said “I felt like I had a clear vision.”
“Instead of pulling over and assessing the full situation, my mind defaulted to what would have been the most reasonable thing that just happened: you hit a pothole.”
“Did you know that you hit someone?” asked Cruz. “No” said DeGise.
The interview was her second this week. On Monday, DeGise spoke with Talk on the Hudson host Fernando Uribe.
Initially, the Jersey Journal said that DeGise “reported the accident to police after hitting her head and coming to the realization of what had occurred.” However, DeGise told Cruz that the story, which the Journal later cast doubt on, was untrue.
According to DeGise, the Jersey City Police Department did not contact her.
Accompanied by her fiancee, who is a lawyer and firefighter, she went to the West District Precinct after seeing damage to the bumper on her SUV at around lunchtime.
Looking at the car she thought “I think I hit something… obviously that wan’t from a speed bump.”
She became “concerned and distraught.”
She said she was neither drunk nor high on drugs at the time of the crash.
When she arrived at the precinct, she was given two tickets and told that they would have mailed the summonses if she hadn’t come in.
She said she “wanted to throw up” when she first saw the video of the crash that had been posted by journalist Michael Shurin.
On January 24, DeGise pled guilty to leaving the scene of an accident and received a one year suspension of her driver’s license along with a $5,000 fine.
Why, asked Cruz, hadn’t she immediately apologized? “I felt like anything that I said or did was going to exacerbate” the anger that was being directed at her.
A week after the incident, a police body cam video emerged of DeGise appearing to use her political connections to pressure a Hoboken police officer into releasing her car, which was about to be towed.
She explained “I was trying to get the largest ticket I could in lieu of getting towed.”
DeGise said that she had a lot of work that day and wanted to go right to the courthouse and pay the ticket.
She said that she “absolutely” understands why people thought she was flexing her political muscle. She was “absolutely wrong” she said.
DeGise spoke about harassment she said was directed at her, her family and her friends after the crash. She received several hundred emails a day, including messages that were “very graphic” explaining how she and love ones were going to die.
Saying that it was a “personnel issue and union issue,” DeGise would not explain why she was suspended without pay from her teaching post at Hudson County Prep in 2016. The story was first reported by the Jersey City Times.
As to the future, DeGise said “My mission to make my home better is not changed…it’s even intensified.”
Those who won’t sit down with her to talk are “politically motivated” she charged.
As to protests, she said “it’s their time and their resources that they are spending so it’s completely up to them.”
She said that she hopes to talk to Black some day. She would tell him that she’s “very sorry”
In the wake of the crash, she said that street safety is “up there on the list” of her top priorities.