The two people who were injured in a motorcycle crash on Berkshire Valley Road last week have been identified.
At approximately 8 p.m. on Wednesday, August 1, Craig Michaels and his passenger, Dakota Mergott-Ferrone, were riding a 2004 Harley-Davidson on Berkshire Valley Road. The motorcycle ran off the road to the right, hit a curb, continued over a driveway, and struck a guardrail end approximately 100 feet south of Moquis Trail, according to the police report.
Both riders were thrown over the handlebars approximately 30 feet and struck a rock wall. The report indicates that road conditions were dry, and the cause of the accident is under investigation.
Michaels, 45, of Rockaway, and Mergott-Ferrone, 26, of Hampton Township, were medevacked to Morristown Medical Center in critical condition, according to Detective Joseph Kratzel.
Craig Michaels Is Bartender at J Towne Tavern
Michaels has been a bartender at J Towne Tavern in Lake Hopatcong for approximately four years. According to his son, Justin Stymacks, Michaels is a widower who has been working to pay off enormous medical bills from his wife’s illness five years ago. Stymacks, 21, and his sister, 16, live with their father in Rockaway. Stymacks told The Jefferson Chronicle, “He has been a mother and father to us; he had to do both jobs.”
Stymacks said his father is awake and alert, but has severe injuries that have required two surgeries so far. He suffers from a broken leg and jaw as well as fractures to his skull, face, eye socket, sinus, and multiple extremities. Michaels is currently in the trauma unit and faces a long recovery.
Dakota Mergott-Ferrone Formerly of Lake Hopatcong
Michelle Cameron, the mother of Mergott-Ferrone, told The Chronicle they lived in Lake Hopatcong and her daughter attended school in Jefferson Township. Following their move to Hampton Township after her freshman year, Mergott-Ferrone graduated from Kittatinny Regional High School in 2010. Cameron said her daughter and Michaels are good friends who got together after a day of swimming on August 1.
Mergott-Ferrone also suffered significant injuries including lacerations to her stomach, pancreas, and liver as well as a broken clavicle and various rib, spine, and leg fractures. Cameron told The Jefferson Chronicle she had planned to move to Florida, with an apartment and work lined up for September 1. “Now all of that will have to be put on hold,” she said.
Cameron noted that her daughter, who performs mixed martial arts, is strong and a “feisty character,” but she knows the road to recovery will be long. Five days after the accident, she responded to her mother’s call to “open her eyes” for a moment. Mergott-Ferrone has been removed from a respirator and is currently stable, although she remains in the intensive care unit. Cameron appreciates whoever “made the call for help” and is grateful for the first responders.
Those who would like to contribute to the medical and living expenses of the accident victims may visit the following GoFundMe pages:
Craig Michaels – www.gofundme.com/medical-bills-and-family-expense039s
Dakota Mergott-Ferrone – www.gofundme.com/dakotas-road-to-recovery