UPDATE: Runaway Van Nearly Plunges Into Newton Lake

Joseph Watson, III of Oaklyn was driving the Nissan van when it careened off the road. Camden County Park Police seized marijuana from the vehicle. No injuries were reported.

A runaway van veered into oncoming traffic on the White Horse Pike, crashed against a guard rail and nearly struck a small gathering of people at the edge of Sunday evening.

Camden County spokesman Dan Keashen also confirmed to Patch that county park police confiscated a quantity of marijuana at the scene of the accident, in which no injuries were reported.

At the time of publication, the driver, an unidentified 43-year-old male, was in police custody. According to eyewitness accounts, he may have fallen asleep at the wheel.

"I heard 'boom!'" said Jeffrey Clark of Camden, who had been fishing for about two hours when the incident occured. "He hit a guard rail."

"They said he fell asleep," added Vernon Carter, also of Camden.

Tire marks were visible in the earth along the path the vehicle followed as it rolled down the embankment.

After the crash, Quita Jenkins of Camden said she saw the driver "jump up and try to back out" before exiting the vehicle and smoking a cigarette.

"Other people saw him swerving at the light," she said. "A little girl and her father almost got hit."

The vehicle was a white Nissan NV2500 with Pennsylvania tags, a commercial van that appeared to be a rental from Enterprise.

Newton Lake has claimed its share of vehicles in recent months: an and a both drowned there in 2011.

Stick with Patch for more updates as they are available.

UPDATE: 4-30-12, 5:20 p.m. The driver of the vehicle has been identified as Joseph Watson III of Oaklyn, NJ. Watson was charged with driving while intoxicated, careless driving, and possession of a controlled, dangerous substance in a motor vehicle. He was released to a third party pending a trial date.

Allie Burger April 30, 2012 at 02:35 PM
Man, it does seem like the lake is a magnet for trouble recently. In the 7 1/2 years we've lived here, I don't remember a more eventful year for that lake. What scares me is that I often walk place with my children, and there isn't much you can do to protect them from being run over by a runaway vehicle... We've walked across that bridge countless times.
DoneWithNews April 30, 2012 at 05:10 PM
"Welcome to Newton Lake! Coming soon: Drive-Thru window!"


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