TOMS RIVER, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Rescue crews found a dog dead inside a pickup truck that fell through the ice on a southern New Jersey waterway, but no one else was inside, police said.
A witness called police around 12:15 a.m. Sunday to report a small truck had just driven onto the frozen river in the Ocean County town.
The witness said the truck began spinning around in circles after reaching the center of the river.
Witnesses who claimed they had seen the truck’s headlights and brake lights worried when they could no longer see them, afraid the truck went through the ice and in the river, CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported.
A Coast Guard helicopter crew responded, and a rescue swimmer who was lowered down to the river soon spotted the truck. State police were notified, and a rescue effort involving several agencies was soon launched.
The truck was found around 10:20 a.m., about 100 feet off Pine Beach.
Divers who got closest to the truck initially could not tell if anyone was inside because the truck’s windows were so heavily tinted, Carlin reported.
Police said the driver, who they identified as 27-year-old Andrew Mayer, eventually walked into police headquarters, confirming he was OK. His passenger was also safe after demanding he be let out on the banks of the river, Carlin reported.
But Mayer’s dog, a boxer mix, was in the backseat when the ice cracked and the truck sank.
“The water was up to his chest and he tried to get his dog out but was unable to,” said Sgt. Gregory Williams, with New Jersey State Police.
No one was at Mayer’s house Sunday night. Neighbors across the street said the dog used to greet them happily and died needlessly.
“It’s sad that the dog didn’t make it,” said Sarah Stern. “You’re taking that risk to go out on the ice.”
Mayer has not been charged in the incident, but remained in police custody Sunday night.
Authorities said the truck was still underwater Sunday evening because bad weather made it too dangerous to tow it out.
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