CORRECTION: Previous versions of this story identified Kathleen Engler as the driver of the vehicle. Engler was actually a good samaritan rescuer. She was not driving the vehicle. We apologize for this error.
Updated story below...
WAYNE, NJ – Just before 11:00 a.m. on July 8, a woman lost control of her car which ended up in Packanack lake with her trapped inside. She was rescued without injury by a neighbor and the Volunteers of Wayne Fire Company #5.
The unidentified woman was “navigating her driveway,” in her hybrid SUV when somehow, she lost control. The car jumped the curb at the end of her driveway, through some bushes, rolled down the short grass slope of the lawn and plunged into the waters of the lake.
The car drifted, somewhat floating a full forty or so feet out into the lake.
Wayne Fire Commissioner Bob Minnarick arrived on scene just after a squad from Packanack Fire Company #5 showed up. In the lake was a small boat piloted by Kathleen Engler the woman's neighbor. “She had been trying to pull the woman from the car,” said Minnarick. “But she didn’t have the leverage to get the woman out and hold onto the boat at the same time.”
Firefighter Dennis Petrusovich rushed into a dry suit and waded through the water to the car, which continued to slowly drift. At this point water was lapping up and into the open car windows. Petrusovich brought with him a tow-line and a personal flotation device. He instructed the driver of the vehicle to put on the PFD and asked Engler to attach the tow-line to the boat. He was then able to help the frightened woman from her car and into the boat which was pulled back to the shore.
The woman was checked for injuries, but besides being shaken up and a little embarrassed, she was fine and very grateful to Engler and the fire department for helping her.
In the meantime, the Fire Company’s rescue boat had been launched and met Petrusovich back at the car. The volunteer firefighters worked together to attach the tow-rope to the car, which was then pulled from the lake by a tow truck.
Just another day at the office for Wayne’s bravest, which in this case included Kathleen Engler.