New Jersey

Brothers' Morning Bike Ride Ends in Fatal Cliff Fall at New Jersey Park

A man has lost his brother after a morning bike ride ended in a fatal fall down a cliff in New Jersey. 

Essex County officials said two brothers were mountain biking on a trail within a 157 acre county park in New Jersey Monday morning when one accidentally rode off a cliff, falling at least 20 feet into a ravine.

A woman who lives near the Mills Reservation, Debbie Cocoziello, said she was startled awake by someone screaming for help. The man screaming for help turned out to be the brother of the 49-year-old victim. 

Authorities were seen hauling a stretcher covered in a white sheet from a ravine at Mills Reservation in Cedar Grove at 11:30 a.m., about two hours after the initial report came in about the fall.

The reservation has a number of hiking trails, including one that leads to a cliff overlooking the New York City skyline. It is maintained by the Essex County Park Commission.

Biking isn't allowed on the trails at the Mills Reservation, but neighbors say people do it anyway. One man was seen being turned away by police when he tried to pedal in just two hours after the accident. 

"It's a ravine, it's not meant for something like that but the kids do it," said a neighbor named Caroline. 

Other neighbors who live along the Cedar Grove-Upper Montclair border say they've worried about the park cliffs for years. There's no fence there, just a sheer drop.

Eddie Kloss says he never takes his three young children near the cliff: "It's too dangerous, there's no fence or anything." 

The exact circumstances surrounding the fall remain under investigation, although authorities have called it an accident.

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