SUV driven into Lake Mercer during Friday storm

A Nissan Rogue in Lake Mercer Friday night. Photo: West Windsor Police Department.

A woman drove her 2010 Nissan Rogue SUV into Lake Mercer during the storm on Friday night and the car sank in the lake, West Windsor Police said.

Lauren Engel of Dumont allegedly was intoxicated when she drove her vehicle into the lake via the boat ramp in the marina parking lot at Mercer County Park. Police said she was attempting to exit the park during the heavy rainstorm Friday night after 9 p.m. when she drove into the lake. Engel escaped from her SUV and eventually got help. She couldn’t contact the police or park rangers right away because of the storm and her secluded location, police said. An estimated two hours or more passed between when she drove into the lake and when police were dispatched.

Numerous first responders headed to the scene, including the Hightstown dive team. Grover’s Mill Towing retrieved the underwater Nissan, which sustained severe water damage. The recovery of the vehicle took more than two hours.

Engel sustained minor injuries and refused to be taken to a hospital. She was issued summonses for reckless driving, careless driving, and driving while intoxicated, and was released pending a municipal court date.

The incident is still under investigation by the traffic bureau for the West Windsor Police Department. If you have any information about the incident, contact Traffic Officer Brown at or Traffic Sgt. Bal at

A Nissan Rogue in Lake Mercer Friday night. Photo: West Windsor Police Department.
Workers attempt to remove an SUV from Lake Mercer late Friday night. Photo: West Windsor Police Department.

One Comment

  1. Another good reason of why police should be partially defunded. Every time there is a minor incident, dozens of emergency vehicles respond. In this case, if no report of people trapped in the car, leave it until the morning and then have a,tow truck retrieve it.

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