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West Windsor Police Department, NJ
Saturday July 4th, 2020 :: 01:00 p.m. EDT


*WWPD Press Release: Inc 2020-14736 on 7/3/2020 Driving While Intoxicated/Car Sunk into Lake Mercer-Issued by Lt. Lee

20 Municipal Drive * P.O. Box 38
West Windsor, New Jersey 08550

ROBERT GAROFALO PhD(c), Chief of Police

(609) 799-1222
Records Fax (609) 799-6338 * Fax (609) 897-9010
DB Fax (609) 799-6515 * Dispatch Fax (609) 799-3516
INCIDENT:  2020-14736 Motor Vehicle Crash (Car into Lake Mercer) and Driving While Intoxicated
DATE & TIME OCCURRED:  7/3/2020 at 11:19 pm
LOCATION OCCURRED:  1 South Post Road, Mercer County Park at the Lake Mercer Boat Ramp (Marina Parking Lot)
ACCUSED:  Lauren K. Engel
                     Resident of Dumont, NJ 07628
  1. Traffic Officer Brown #89—Lead MVC Investigator
  2. Ptl. Caulfield #107—Lead Investigator into DWI
  3. WWPD Patrol Division & Traffic Bureau
  4. WW Div. of Fire & Emergency Services (#45)
  5. West Windsor Volunteer Fire Company #1 (WWVFC#1) Station #43
  6. Princeton Junction Volunteer Fire Company (PJVFC) Station #44
  7. Deputy Director of Mercer County Park Rangers Reyes
  8. Hightstown Dive Team
  9. Grover’s Mill Towing
DETAILS:  On Friday July 3, 2020 at 11:19 pm, Patrol Units were detailed to the Mercer County Park Marina (Old Trenton Road side) for a vehicle submerged into Lake Mercer near the Boat House at the Boat Launch.  Patrol Units initially met with the operator, identified as Lauren K. Engel, who had escaped from her underwater 2010 Nissan Rogue.  The above listed Others Involved responded to the scene.  It was determined that Engel sustained a minor injury and no other persons had been inside of the sunken Rogue.  Engel was evaluated by members of WW Emergency Services and declined to be transported to a hospital. 
                     Initial investigation revealed that Engel had been attempting to exit the Mercer County Park during a heavy rainstorm possibly up to (2) hours earlier.  The delay was due to Engel having no means to contact the WWPD or anyone else at that time of night during a storm and given her secluded location.  Ptl. Caulfield, the Lead Investigator, determined Engel to be Driving While Intoxicated at the scene.  Engel was transported to the WWPD for processing.  Grover’s Mill Towing retrieved the underwater Nissan which sustained severe water damage.   The retrieving of the submerged vehicle took over (2) hours. 
                       Traffic Officer Brown is the Lead Investigator in this collision while Ptl. Caulfield is the Lead Investigator into the DWI portion of the collaborative investigation.   Driver #1 was issued a summonses for DWI, Reckless Driving, & Careless Driving by Ptl. Caulfield and released pending a future date at the West Windsor Township Municipal Court.  None of the responders or the owner of Grover’s Mill Towing  were injured during the search for additional persons and subsequent retrieval of the Rogue. 
                        This incident is still under investigation by the Traffic Bureau.  If you have any information of substance, please contact Traffic Officer Brown at [email protected] or Traffic Sgt. Bal at [email protected] 
**NOTE:  If you have had too many alcohol beverages to drink during this holiday weekend, we urge you to make alternate arrangements instead of driving yourself.  These type of incidents only put many others at risk. 
 **Please note that charges are merely accusations and that the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

West Windsor Police Department, NJ
271 Clarksville Rd
West Windsor Township, NJ 08550

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 609-799-1222

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