Vehicle crashes into Gropps Lake leaving 2 in critical conditions

Hamilton and Trenton Firefighters rescued two people after their car crashed into a lake in Hamilton Saturday morning, leaving them trapped in the submerged car for around 15 minutes in frigid conditions, according to fire officials.

Hamilton police Lt. Richard Mastropolo identified the driver as Bernadette Joseph, 40, and the passenger as Annelisa Forestin, 18. Both Hamilton residents were in critical condition Saturday afternoon, he said.

Joseph was driving her 1998 Subaru Impreza on South Broad Street near the Interstate 195 interchange when she lost control, struck a guardrail and veered into Gropps Lake, where it submerged about 9 a.m., police said in a news release.

“After striking the guard rail the vehicle continued to accelerate as it drove across the median,” went across the westbound lane of South Broad Street and into the lake, Mastropolo said.

The car ended up submerged about 50 feet from shore, Mather said. Willever said it was in about 12 or 15 feet of water.

Divers from the Trenton Fire Dept.’s marine rescue unit pulled both people from the vehicle and they were rushed to a Trenton hospital, according to Trenton Fire Battalion Chief Clifford Willever.

“Our divers did an excellent job,” Trenton Battalion Chief Clifford Willever said Saturday afternoon. “They were in the water within minutes and down and got the two people out of the car. It was a little difficult getting them out, but once they were brought to the surface they were transported to the hospital.”

Trenton firefighters were dispatched at 9:15 a.m. and two divers were in the water at 9:27 a.m., Willever said. The first diver to the car was able to pull open a car door, despite the water pressure, and pull the victims out, he said.

After they were transported in ambulances to Capital Health Regional Medical Center in Trenton, a third diver went in the water to assist with towing the car from the water, he said.

All three divers were also taken to the hospital as a precaution, Willever said. “They were cold,” he said.

Firefighters from White Horse and Rusling fire companies in Hamilton Hose assisted in the rescue, Mastropolo said.

Anyone with information about the crash is asked to call the Hamilton Police Traffic Unit at 609-581-4000 or the anonymous tip line at 609-581-4008.

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Irving Lawrence Duckwald III is a freelance writer and blogger based in Central New Jersey. He has a penchant for fried chicken, fast cars, and fancy suits. With a knack for "setting the record straight", he can argue till the cows come home why it's Pork Roll and not Taylor Ham.