ISELIN - A 45-year-old man was found dead in a pickup truck spotted near a creek along Gill Lane in Iselin at around 11 a.m. Wednesday.
Traffic on the Garden State Parkway was backed up for miles as the truck and driver, identified as William Schwartz, were removed and state police investigated the scene.
The front end of the Ford F-350 was completely mangled and caught in the trees near a section of the south branch of the Rahway River. The river runs under the Parkway just south of exit 131.
Investigators believe Schwartz somehow lost control of the car, veered off to the right through a grassy area and into the woods.
Theresa Hough called police after a neighbor at the Bristle Apartments led her to the crash site. Hough's daughter was awakened by a loud noise at around 3 or 3:30 a.m. Wednesday morning, but it's unclear if the noise was related to the crash.
"She said it sounded like someone hitting the building, and when she looked out she didn't see anything," Hough says. "Nobody would have thought to look in the woods."
Police do not know whether Schwartz, of Keyport, died before or after the crash. They are also working to determine how long the truck may have been alongside the creek.