Jet's Cornerback Involved In Severe Crash, Leaves Man Paralyzed

 May 5, 2024

An incident on the roads near Morristown Airport has sparked widespread concern and legal action.

Brandin Echols, a player for the New York Jets, was involved in a high-speed car accident that resulted in the severe injury and partial paralysis of 51-year-old Stephen Gilberg.

The New York Post reported that on April 26, 2022, at approximately 2 p.m., Brandin Echols lost control of his 2021 Dodge Charger Hellcat along Columbia Turnpike close to Florham Park, N.J., where the Jets’ practice facility is located. Stephen Gilberg, who was driving a 2018 BMW X5 at the time, suffered catastrophic injuries when Echols’ car collided with him at excessive speeds, sending Gilberg's BMW off the road and into a marshy area.

The High Speed and Harrowing Consequences of Negligence

Nicholas Leonardis, the attorney for the injured Gilberg, noted that the data recorder documented Echols traveling at 111 mph before the incident. This was significantly over the traffic zone's 50 mph speed limit.

Stephen Gilberg was trapped within his overturned vehicle for about an hour before rescuers could extract him. This horrifying experience led to him undergoing two spinal surgeries and accruing nearly $1 million in medical expenses by early 2023.

Legal implications quickly unfolded as Echols faced charges of assault by auto, reckless driving, and speeding. He entered a pretrial intervention program; however, this has not mitigated the ongoing legal and civil claims against him, including a lawsuit that accuses Echols and several bodies, including the New York Jets and NJ Department of Transportation, of negligence and assault by auto.

Victim's Ongoing Battle with Physical and Psychological Trauma

Stephen Gilberg's injuries sustain a grim echo in his day-to-day life. According to his lawyer, Nicholas Leonardis, the sheer reckless nature of Echols' driving, exacerbated by a device in Echols' car designed to hide his license plate, exposes a troubling disregard for public safety.

Stephen Gilberg articulates his continuing ordeal:

While I’ve made certain strides physically... it’s the nerve damage and the pain you don’t see... The physical things I will never be able to do and the psychological trauma I am living with every single day will continue to impact the rest of my life.

Nicholas Leonardis stresses Echols' lack of accountability, noting no attempts to reach out to the victim to express remorse. This, coupled with Echols' history of speeding citations, underpins allegations of a pattern of negligent behavior.

The lawsuit alleges potential flaws within the Jets’ hiring protocols, suggesting that Echols' known propensity for reckless driving should have been a decisive factor in any employment considerations. Mitch Schuster, representing Echols, counters these severe allegations by asserting that his client did not drive under the influence, nor did he intend to harm anyone, expressing sorrow over the incident.

Legal Battles and Community Repercussions

Echols suffered minimal career interruption with a single-game suspension in 2023, which was discreetly handled without explicit tie-ins to the accident.

Stephen Gilberg and his spouse have entrenched themselves in a compounded legal fight against Echols, implicating the Jets and state authorities. Their claim centers on a firm plea for accountability following the catastrophic fallout of an afternoon drive that ended in tragedy.

In conclusion, the severe ramifications following the crash involving Brandin Echols and Stephen Gilberg expose profound questions about accountability, the scope of employer responsibilities, and the enduring, often silent suffering of traffic accident victims. Pending legal processes are likely to unfold further the layers of this grievous event, which serves as a grave reminder of the consequences of a momentary lapse in judgment on the road.

About Victor Winston

Victor is a freelance writer and researcher who focuses on national politics, geopolitics, and economics.

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