‘I thought I was drowning’, woman recalls horrific moment when car sank

When a massive water main break occurred in Belleville’s Branch Brook Park, a sinkhole was created that swallowed the woman’s car inside.

Jersey City’s Lisette Pagan was not seriously injured and was able to escape.

“I’m still in shock. I couldn’t sleep last night thinking I was drowning. So I hope that fear goes away, right?”

Pagan’s car sank so deeply that a crane had to be hauled out Wednesday afternoon to retrieve it. It was full of rocks and other debris.

“It was very scary and very fast at the same time,” she says.

It happened around 5:30 a.m. Tuesday while Pagan was driving to work. She saw water on the road, but before she said she saw three cars drive by. She says she thought it was safe too, but the next thing she knew, her car had been swallowed.

“I was trying to open the door. I managed to open it up a bit and manage to swim and walk to the edge,” Pagan says.

She says she was thinking about her family while trying to escape.

“I just can’t let go. I have to be strong for my granddaughter. God gave me a chance,” says Pagan.

She is now working with her insurance company to see if the damage will be covered. She says she plans to use Uber to get to work until she gets her new car.

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