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South Brunswick Intoxicated Driver Sentenced for Crash that Severely Injured Woman

South Brunswick Township

Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone and Chief Joseph Battaglia of the North Brunswick Police Department announced today that a man has been sentenced for his role in causing a severe crash that left multiple people injured on August 8, 2020.

An investigation by Patrolman Jason Zier of the North Brunswick Police Department and Detective Jonathan Berman of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office determined that on August 8, 2020, at approximately 8:50 p.m., Christopher L. Mertens, 42, of Monmouth Junction was driving while intoxicated.

The investigation determined Mertens, accompanied by his two young children, was traveling southbound on Route 1 at high speed when he rear-ended a 2003 Chevrolet Blazer, causing it to roll over and catch on fire.

The driver of the Blazer, a nineteen-year-old man, sustained burn injuries and was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.

The sole passenger of the Blazer, a twenty-one-year-old woman, along with Mertens’ children, were also transported from the scene for medical treatment.

On August 9, 2020, Mertens was arrested and charged with second-degree aggravated assault, second-degree endangering the welfare of a child, third-degree assault by auto, third-degree endangering another person by knowingly engaging in conduct which creates a substantial risk of death, three counts of fourth-degree assault by car, and fourth-degree obstruction.

On October 27, 2021, following sentencing arguments from Assistant Prosecutor Keith Abrams and Assistant Prosecutor Kaitlyn Poggi, the Honorable Craig Corson, J.S.C. sentenced Mertens to eleven years in state prison on one count of second-degree aggravated assault, two counts of second-degree endangering the welfare of a child, one count of third-degree aggravated assault, and one count of fourth-degree causing severe bodily injury.

Mertens must serve 85% of his sentence, approximately nine-and-a-half years, before he is eligible for parole.

Upon his release, Mertens will be subject to an eight-year loss of license.