Former N.J. mayor hit by car while saving dog
Former Pitman, N.J. mayor Michael Batten was injured Sunday when he dove into the street to save his dog from the wheels of a passing car, according to his successor Russell Johnson.
Batten was around 4:15 p.m. walking down Laurel Avenue when the dog broke free and ran off the sidewalk. “Mike jumped into the street to save the dog,” Johnson said. “He was able to get the dog to the curb. But as soon as he did that, he got hit by a car.”
Batten was treated at Cooper University Hospital for five broken ribs and a broken vertebra in his lower back. Johnson, who now serves as mayor of the Gloucester County borough, said the display of courage “pretty much sums up” Batten’s character. “I’m not surprised he didn’t hesitate,” Johnson said. “He’s just that kind of person. He thinks about everybody but himself.”
Kevin Austin, a 30-year town volunteer firefighter who was last week sworn in as a city councilman, happened to drive by the crash and immediately got out of his car. “He started administering first aid, with the help of some residents, while they waited for an ambulance to get to the scene,” Johnson said. He called the small-town display of solidarity “typical Pitman.”
“Pitman residents continue to show when things get tough, they’re willing to help,” Johnson said. “Pitman is a volunteer-based town and guys like Kevin are always stepping up, neighbors are always stepping up. It’s a small town. That’s what happens - people look out for each other and help one another.”