Two women from Belle Mead and Ringoes die in Hillsborough during flash floods

A Belle Mead woman and a woman from Chile who was living in Ringoes both died in separate incidents in Hillsborough as Tropical Storm Ida caused flash flooding in Somerset County Wednesday night.

The Hillsborough Police Department responded to multiple incidents involving water rescues of drivers whose vehicles became disabled as floodwaters quickly rose on Wednesday night. Once waters began to recede, two vehicles in separate locations were discovered and the drivers were dead.

Cheryl Talke, 61, of Belle Mead, was found in her vehicle on Route 206 near the Montgomery border.

Daphnee Francisca Lopez Del Bono, 30, a resident of Santiago Chile who was living in Ringoes, was found on Amwell Road near North Willow Road.

The deaths remain under investigation by the Hillsborough Police Department and the New Jersey State Medical Examiner’s Office.

There were two more deaths in Somerset County. Somerset County Commissioner Director Shanel Robinson issued a statement about the four deaths in the county and the destruction the storm caused.

“The past 24 hours have been long and difficult in Somerset County, and finally the remnants of Hurricane Ida have passed. Unfortunately, we are left with four lives lost and incalculable property damage and disruption of lives,’ Robinson said. “Over the next several days we will deploy all the resources available to help rebuild and restore Somerset County. As we move forward with the recovery, I am confident that we will unite as a county to ensure all our residents’ and businesses’ needs are met.”

Robinson said she is thankful for the heroic efforts of first responders during the storm. Emergency responders performed more than 50 rescues using vehicles, boats, and helicopters and continue to search for people who are missing while providing shelter to residents who have lost access to their homes. “The full extent of the damage to our county’s infrastructure has yet to be determined. We will continue to make assessments over the next several days and are advocating on the state and federal level for our residents and businesses,” Robinson said. “I ask that we all take a moment to remember those we have lost, and to be grateful for those who have survived.”

Flooding in Rocky Hill in Somerset County on Route 518 on Thursday. Montgomery declared a state of emergency. Two people died in Hillsborough, one near the Montgomery border, and two people died in Hopewell in neighboring Mercer County as flash floods hit the region. Photo: Jon Lambert.