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12-17-2010 Car into Lake
Updated On: Dec 18, 2010

Rescuers on the lake at the Washington Town Center fish for the car that careened into the water with a driver behind the wheel. (Brian McCarthy)

 

Man dies after car goes into pond

Published: Friday, December 17, 2010, 10:24 PM     Updated: Friday, December 17, 2010, 10:24 PM

ROBBINSVILLE — A Hamilton man who was trapped in his car for nearly 30 minutes at the bottom of an icy lake in Robbinsville Town Center was pronounced dead after paramedics rushed him to a Trenton hospital.

According to authorities, the 85-year-old victim, whose name was not released yesterday pending notification of his next-of-kin, lost control of his vehicle just before 1 p.m. and went careening through a parking lot, down an embankment and into the lake.

The man was apparently pulling out of a parking space in a lot behind an office building on Union Street, near the intersection with Washington Boulevard, when the accident happened.

“I was sitting up in my office and I heard these tires peeling out,” said Ande Weathers, a Jackson resident and employee with Sharbell Development Corp., who said he saw the crash from his office window.

Police and witnesses said the car reversed into the back of a blue car parked behind him before cutting hard to the right and up onto a traffic island where it knocked over a small tree.

After pausing there for a moment, the car kicked into forward gear and crashed into the front of the same blue car before veering to the left, jumping a curb and speeding down the embankment into the lake.

“Just as he hit that blue car I yelled to my secretary, ‘My God, he’s going into the lake,’” Weathers added.

Receiving multiple 9-1-1 calls, police, paramedics and firefighters responded to the scene and saw the car partially submerged about 30 yards from the shore. Donning dry suits, emergency workers attempted a rescue but without boats and with a crust of ice covering the surface of the lake they were unable to reach the vehicle.

After several minutes, the vehicle was completely submerged in the lake.

Marine units from the Trenton Fire Department were dispatched to the scene, arriving at about 2:10 p.m. Divers managed to remove the driver from the water about 10 minutes after that, authorities said.

After the car plunged into the water, Weathers said he and several coworkers ran outside in hopes that they could rescue the victim. Several doctors from a nearby medical clinic, however, advised them to stay out of the frigid water for fear they could end up victims themselves.

“Standing there helplessly watching that car go down, that was the worst feeling,” Weathers said. “It floated for maybe two or three minutes. I didn’t see a whole lot of movement in there.”

One firefighter from Robbinsville suffered a minor arm injury while attempting a rescue, authorities said. Assisting in the operation were paramedics from West Windsor, Mercerville Fire Co., Allentown’s Hope Fire Co., and units from the Trenton Fire Department.

Authorities yesterday couldn’t say what might have caused the man to lose control of the vehicle. The incident remains under investigation by Officer Thomas Egan, the Robbinsville Township Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Unit and the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office.

Officials asked that anyone who witnessed the accident contact Robbinsville police at (609) 259-3900.

Contact Matt Fair at mfair@njtimes.com or at (609) 989-5707.

 

Hamilton 85-year-old crashes car, drives into Robbinsville lake & dies (VIDEO)

Staff Report

Click to enlarge

ROBBINSVILLE — An 85-year-old Hamilton man died yesterday after he drove his car into the frigid lake behind Towne Center’s West Lake Office Building.

A witness said that after a few minutes afloat, the man’s battered, white car bobbed up and sunk like ship.

Divers from Robbinsville and Trenton Fire Department Rescue 1 and Engine 1 recovered the elderly victim about 28 minutes after the 1:52 p.m. tragedy, but the heroic efforts ended there, and the man was pronounced dead at a Trenton hospital.

His identity was not released last night pending notification of next of kin.



Observers theorized the victim may have been a heart patient at the West Lake Office Building, home of the American Heart Association, Penn Cardiac Care at Mercer Bucks, and Sleepcare Center RWJ Hamilton. He had been parked in a handicapped spot between the building at 1 Union Street and the lake, reported Lt. Michael Polaski

“The vehicle went into reverse, struck a curb and a tree ... then drove forward striking a parked car,” reported Polaski. “After striking the parked car, the vehicle drove over another curb, down an embankment and into the lake which was partially covered with ice.

“The cause of the accident remains under investigation.”

Accountant Ande Weathers was on the third floor of the building next to West Lake, near a window, when he heard the sound of peeling tires.

“We stood up and looked out the window and saw that car, as it came out of the parking spot over there, curled around, hit that blue car, backed straight up into that tree that’s damaged, and sat on top of the tree for a couple seconds,” Weathers said. 

“All of a sudden it lurched forward and went straight for that blue car again, and hit it in the front left quarter panel,” he said. “And right around that time, I yelled to my assistant, ‘Oh my God, he’s going into the lake! And we just ran (down)... By the time I got down here, he was already in the water.”

Weathers said it took only 2 or 3 minutes of floating before it went under.

“You could see the car was kind of pitched down, nose going down in, and eventually it just kind of stood up, and then just sunk right down under.”

He said the victim “didn’t seem to be flailing (inside) to try to get out... It was a horrible thing, horrible to just stand right there and watch the car go down, knowing someone’s in it. A couple of us wondered whether or not to go in, but the doctors (in nearby offices) came out here and said, ‘Don’t go in, because it’s too far out, and you’ll be in bad shape — you’ll freeze. You won’t be able to get the car open, and by that time, you’ll be under.”

Trenton Rescue 1 Firefighters Mike Brown and Kevin Rice donned wet suits and pulled the elderly man’s body out of the submerged car.

“Our divers went down in 16 feet of water to get him,” said Trenton Battalion Chief Pete Fiabane. “It’s a crying shame that some of these very guys were laid off a few hours later.”

Mike Brown was among 61 TPD firefighters who received a layoff notice yesterday, Fiabane said. (See sidebar.)

 

 

Click to enlarge

ROBBINSVILLE — An 85-year-old Hamilton man died yesterday after he drove his car into the frigid lake behind Towne Center’s West Lake Office Building.

A witness said that after a few minutes afloat, the man’s battered, white car bobbed up and sunk like ship.

Divers from Robbinsville and Trenton Fire Department Rescue 1 and Engine 1 recovered the elderly victim about 28 minutes after the 1:52 p.m. tragedy, but the heroic efforts ended there, and the man was pronounced dead at a Trenton hospital.

His identity was not released last night pending notification of next of kin.



Observers theorized the victim may have been a heart patient at the West Lake Office Building, home of the American Heart Association, Penn Cardiac Care at Mercer Bucks, and Sleepcare Center RWJ Hamilton. He had been parked in a handicapped spot between the building at 1 Union Street and the lake, reported Lt. Michael Polaski

“The vehicle went into reverse, struck a curb and a tree ... then drove forward striking a parked car,” reported Polaski. “After striking the parked car, the vehicle drove over another curb, down an embankment and into the lake which was partially covered with ice.

“The cause of the accident remains under investigation.”

Accountant Ande Weathers was on the third floor of the building next to West Lake, near a window, when he heard the sound of peeling tires.

“We stood up and looked out the window and saw that car, as it came out of the parking spot over there, curled around, hit that blue car, backed straight up into that tree that’s damaged, and sat on top of the tree for a couple seconds,” Weathers said.

“All of a sudden it lurched forward and went straight for that blue car again, and hit it in the front left quarter panel,” he said. “And right around that time, I yelled to my assistant, ‘Oh my God, he’s going into the lake! And we just ran (down)... By the time I got down here, he was already in the water.”

Weathers said it took only 2 or 3 minutes of floating before it went under.

“You could see the car was kind of pitched down, nose going down in, and eventually it just kind of stood up, and then just sunk right down under.”

He said the victim “didn’t seem to be flailing (inside) to try to get out... It was a horrible thing, horrible to just stand right there and watch the car go down, knowing someone’s in it. A couple of us wondered whether or not to go in, but the doctors (in nearby offices) came out here and said, ‘Don’t go in, because it’s too far out, and you’ll be in bad shape — you’ll freeze. You won’t be able to get the car open, and by that time, you’ll be under.”

Trenton Rescue 1 Firefighters Mike Brown and Kevin Rice donned wet suits and pulled the elderly man’s body out of the submerged car.

“Our divers went down in 16 feet of water to get him,” said Trenton Battalion Chief Pete Fiabane. “It’s a crying shame that some of these very guys were laid off a few hours later.”

Mike Brown was among 61 TPD firefighters who received a layoff notice yesterday, Fiabane said. (See sidebar.)


 
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Sep 14, 2011 (10:12:00)

 

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