Middlesex Man, 40, Arrested After Fiery Rollover DWI Crash Hurts 2 Adults, 2 Children

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A 40-year-old driver from South Brunswick has been arrested following a serious DWI rollover crash that sent four people to the hospital, authorities said.

A 19-year-old Burlington County man suffered serious burns after his Blazer was rear-ended, rolled over and burst into flames on Saturday night, Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone and North Brunswick Police Department Director Kenneth P. McCormick said.

Christopher L. Mertens, 40, of the Monmouth Junction section of South Brunswick was intoxicated and speeding with two children in his 2018 Infiniti Coupe when he collided with the 2003 Chevrolet Blazer, they said.

Police did not identify the 19-year-old crash victim from Chesterfield, who was later transferred to St. Barnabas Medical Center in Essex County with serious burns, they said.

Mertens was arrested and charged on Sunday with aggravated assault, obstruction, endangering the welfare of a child, endangering another person by knowingly engaging in conduct which creates a substantial risk of death and three counts of assault by auto, they said.

Saturday’s cash occurred about 8:50 p.m. on Route 1 South just south of Route 130, police said.

The collision caused the teenager’s Blazer to roll over and catch on fire, police said.

The Chevy’s 19-year-old driver was initially taken to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, and then was transferred to St. Barnabas Hospital in Livingston to treat his burns, authorities said. His passenger, a 21-year-old woman from Suffern, NY, was treated and released from Robert Wood Johnson. Mertens’ children also were taken to Robert Wood Johnson Hospital, police said. No other details on their injuries or condition were released.

The investigation is active and continuing. Anyone with information about the crash is urged to call North Brunswick Police Officer Jason Zier at 732-247-0922 ext. 316, or Detective Jonathan Berman of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at 732-745-4328.

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