A Washington woman was rescued after she drove her car into a Hackettstown fish hatchery early Monday morning, said police. Shortly after, she was arrested and charged with drunk driving.
Responding to a call about a suspicious vehicle at the Charles O. Hayford State Fish Hatchery at 2:05 a.m., police found Michelle Clarke, 42, of Morris County sitting on the trunk of her partially submerged car and waving to them for help.
After the officers assisted her, one detected the odor of alcohol on her breath, according to Sgt. Darren Tynan.
She was charged with driving while intoxicated and unauthorized vehicle in a park area, then released pending a court appearance.
No damage occurred in the pond where Clarke’s car was submerged. The pond at the time was empty of fish stock, according to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
The hatchery, more commonly known as the Hackettstown State Fish Hatchery, opened in 1912. The state Division of Fish and Wildlife used it for trout production until 1981, when the Pequest Trout Hatchery in Oxford took over cold-water fish production.
The hatchery, with pond facilities on both the east and west side of Hackettstown, is currently responsible for the production and distribution of 15 species of cool- and warm-water fish depending on annual requests from the Division’s regional fisheries biologists.
The hatchery also raises gambusia, also known as mosquitofish, to supply to county mosquito control commissions. Annual production numbers range from 1.5 to 2.5 million fish per year.