Rescuers searching for a truck that had been doing “donuts” on the ice in the Toms River discovered a submerged vehicle in the water at about 10:20 a.m. this morning.
There was no word as to whether the vehicle that was found was the same vehicle spotted on the ice in the early morning hours Sunday or if any occupants were found in the vehicle. The submerged vehicle was found about 100 feet from shore in the jurisdiction of Pine Beach, said Ralph Stocco, spokesman for the Toms River Police Department.
Firefighters, police officers and helicopter crews from the New Jersey State Police and U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City searched through the night for a vehicle that may have fallen through the ice. Authorities were called just after midnight Sunday when a concerned bystander reported that they observed a pickup truck drive onto the frozen river at the end of Gladney Avenue.
The truck drove out to the center of the river and began doing “donuts,” the caller told police.
Police units from Toms River responded and also saw the vehicle on the ice, Stocco said. The headlights and brake lights could be seen from the shoreline as the vehicle headed south and west towards the opposite side of the river, but after a period of time went by the lights suddenly were no longer visible.
Fearing that the truck broke through the ice, search teams were activated. Firefighters from Toms River and Island Heights began a search along with the helicopter crews. Personnel wearing ice rescue suits also conducted a walking search of the frozen river in attempts to locate the trucks location.
Nothing was found until 10:20 a.m. Sunday, when the submerged vehicle was discovered in the water off Motor Road in Pine Beach. State Police and Coast Guard air units are on scene, as well as fan boat units from the state police.
According to Stocco, there were reports that just prior to the vehicle entering the ice, a male passenger exited the truck and walked away, heading northbound on Gladney Avenue.
Anyone with information on that man, or the missing truck, is being urged to contact the Toms River Police Department at 732-349-0150 or the Pine Beach Police Department at 732-349-2010.