Driver facing charges after truck submerges in Toms River

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Kemberly Richardson has more from Toms River. (WABC)

A New Jersey driver has been charged after police found his truck at the bottom of the Toms River with his dead dog inside.

State Police say Andrew Mayer is charged with criminal mischief and careless driving. The New Jersey SPCA has also filed animal cruelty charges against Mayer over the dog's death.

An eyewitness called 911 early Sunday after seeing the driver go out onto the ice, and by the time police arrived, the truck had disappeared.

Mayer is keeping a very low profile after the incident, and on Monday, he spotted our camera and ran into the home where he rents a basement room.

But it was Mayer's behavior on the Toms River Sunday that sparked a massive police operation, and it's the reason why he and friend Daniel Jolly are now being targeted.

"He's getting threats from animal lovers," Jolly's boss, Chris Carlsson said.

Carlsson runs the car wash the employs the 25-year-old Jolly, who was riding in Mayer's pickup truck early Sunday when the the two apparently got into an argument that ended with Mayer driving onto the ice, where witnesses spotted him doing donuts.

"They went on the ice, and police shined their light on them, and they took off," Jolly's uncle, John Fackenthal, said. "Turned (the) lights off and took off."

Fackenthal says his nephew insists he got out of the truck before his friend took off further onto the frozen river.

"They heard a crack and got out of the car," Frackenthal said. "And couldn't get the dog out, so the dog is still under."

Shortly after the truck fell through the ice, police initially believed Mayer was trapped inside with his pet boxer.

But sources tell Eyewitness News that after Mayer's truck broke through the ice and began to sink, the 27-year-old ended up roughly chest-deep in water. He managed to climb out of the vehicle but then jumped back into the frigid river to try and save the dog. But his pet was too big, and he couldn't get him out.

"We saw the dog every day," Mayer's neighbor Patty Mass said. "He loved that dog. He spent a lot of time with that dog. I felt really bad, I don't think that he's a bad person."

Both men eventually turned themselves into police.

"Danny's a really good guy," Carlsson said. "He's been here for a long time, and he's a good guy. That's why I like him and called to check on him this morning."

Police say they'll eventually pull the truck out of the river and that the investigation continues, including whether the pair will have to foot the bill for everything. It's could be a costly adventure in more ways than one.
Related Topics:
water rescueice rescueToms River
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