Officials: Intoxicated man driving his children rear-ends vehicle, causes fiery crash

A driver has been charged with driving while intoxicated with his children in the car, and injuring multiple people after a fiery crash.

Christopher L. Mertens, 40, of the Monmouth Junction section of South Brunswick, was charged on Aug. 9 with aggravated assault in the second degree, endangering the welfare of a child in the second degree, assault by auto in the third degree, endangering another person by knowingly engaging in conduct which creates a substantial risk of death in the third degree, three counts of assault by auto in the fourth degree, and obstruction of the administration of law in the fourth degree, according to information provided by Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone and Director Kenneth P. McCormick of the North Brunswick Police Department.

Patrolman Jason Zier of the North Brunswick Police Department and Detective Jonathan Berman of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office determined that on Aug. 8 at approximately 8:50 p.m., on Route 1 south just south of Route 130, Mertens was driving a 2018 Infiniti Coupe, accompanied by his two young children, traveling on Route 1 south allegedly at a high rate of speed while intoxicated, according to reports. Mertens rear-ended a 2003 Chevrolet Blazer, causing it to roll over and catch on fire.

The driver of the Blazer, a 19-year-old male from Chesterfield, was taken to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, and then was transferred to St. Barnabas Hospital in Livingston for the burns he sustained in the crash, according to the statement. His passenger, a 21-year-old woman from Suffern, New York, was treated and released from Robert Wood Johnson. Mertens’ children were also taken to Robert Wood Johnson hospital.

Anyone with information should call Zier at 732-247-0922, ext. 316, or Berman at 732-745-4328.