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Chatham Minor Drives Car Into Adam's Fine Clothing in New Providence

Sixteen-year-old had learner's permit, took car while parents were away. Despite thousands of dollars in damages to storefront, Adam's Fine Clothing For Men is still open for business.

Pieces of shattered glass still sprinkled the storefront of Adam’s Fine Clothing For Men in New Providence on Monday afternoon, one day after a 16-year-old Chatham resident with a learner’s permit drove through one of the store’s large, double-paned glass windows, causing thousands of dollars in damages to the storefront and merchandise.

New Providence Deputy Chief Scott Torre said the 16-year-old, whose name was not released, took his parents’ car while they were out of town. When he went to park the car in front of Adam’s Fine Clothing For Men at 1275 Springfield Ave., apparently to get pizza at Bellariva Trattoria next door, the driver ended up hitting the accelerator instead of the brake, driving through one of the store’s front windows.

“He then backed up and struck a brick support column in front of Adam’s,” Torre said in an email. “Patrolman Joseph DiParisi charged him with taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent, unlicensed driver, careless driving and a violation of learner’s permit. He has been scheduled for a Municipal Court appearance on Oct. 31 at 3 p.m.”

Joe Savino, owner of Adam’s Fine Clothing For Men, said his store had been open about an hour when he started decorating that particular store window with new fall merchandise. He had finished decorating just minutes before the accident occurred.

“I had heard him pop over the curb, looked up and the front of the car came through the window. That wasn’t the end of it,” Savino said. “He panics, puts the car in reverse and as he’s backing away, he ends up slamming into one of the columns. Then he panics and puts the car back into drive and comes further through the window the second time. The second time, he not only came through the window, but popped up into the store a little bit. He cracked the brick façade underneath it. At that point, I ran out. He was just scared out of his mind and didn’t want to get out of the car.”

The accident did not cause any structural damage to the building, Savino said, nor did it cause much damage to the Buick SUV the 16-year-old was driving.

The passenger in the car was also a teenager from Chatham, he said. Since the driver’s parents were on vacation in Maryland, Savino said the passenger’s father came down to the scene when New Providence Police Officers were arriving.

“The passenger’s father came down rather quickly. [He] was very, very nice. He offered me all of the information I needed, gave me all the assurances that they would do the right thing,” Savino explained. “The driver’s father came home last night from vacation. The first thing the father did was he walked his son down to the store and made him apologize, and he assured me that they are going to do the right thing, which is very reassuring.”

The store was closed on Sunday following the accident and it did affect his business, Savino said. However, the store will now be open at regularly scheduled hours.

New Providence Police were at the scene for about two hours, he said, and then a restoration company came in to clean up the damages.

Savino and the driver’s father submitted claims to their respective insurance companies and are waiting for responses. Savino estimated that the total cost of the damages is more than $5,000 and repairs will likely not begin for several weeks.

“The window itself, the glass, was more than $1,000. I don’t know what the [cost of the] restoration was [on Sunday],” Savino said. “I had more than $2,000 worth of merchandise in the window that was damaged. One of the items was a $1,400 suit; another one was a $900 sports coat. Just brand new merchandise, I just put it in the window and it’s just shrouded in glass.”

Savino said he is not pressing any charges and he does not plan on appearing at the Oct. 31 court date unless he is asked to attend.

“I’m just very impressed and very relieved that the parents acknowledged everything and assured me that they would work with me,” Savino said.

New Providence-Berkeley Heights Patch will continue to provide additional information regarding repairs to Adam's Fine Clothing For Men as it becomes available.

Only in NJ October 09, 2012 at 01:31 PM
That's what happens when you step on the 'break' instead of the 'brake'!
Angry Parent October 09, 2012 at 10:03 PM
This is second kid in 2 days that has driven illegally with a permit and at least this one did not end in injuries/death!!! Yesterday in Long Island NY drove on Long Island Expressway with friends and all of his friends died during the crash. New "Safety" laws require that all kids take driving lessons with a licensed company before driving with their parents. The $365.00 average paid and 3 days of lessons does Not prepare these kids to drive. Parents should be required to take their kids for lessons weekly to prepare for their license. This is outrageous!!!
Angry Parent October 09, 2012 at 10:06 PM
The state mandated driving lessons are Bogus!!! They should stress that this is a minimum requirement and Parents NEED to take their kids for 40 hours+ of lessons minimum to prepare for license. And law should restrict these kids driving illegally. If caught, especially in an accident...No License for 2 years minimum!!!
Angry Parent October 10, 2012 at 12:52 AM
I hope everyone is safe and that Parents take the time to teach their kids to drive. Years ago, we only had lessons from our parents and just went to take a written and driving test and most did fine.
Steve October 23, 2012 at 03:35 AM
The father of the driver was so mad, he told his son he had to go to football practice the next day.

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