‘I thought I was drowning.’ Woman relives frightening moments when car sank

When a massive water main break occurred in Branch Brook Park in Belleville, it created a sinkhole that swallowed a woman’s car with her inside.
Lizette Pagan, of Jersey City, was not seriously injured and was able to escape.
“I’m still in shock. I couldn’t go to sleep last night because I thought I was drowning. So, I hope that fear goes away, you know?” Pagan says.
Pagan’s car sank so deep that a crane had to be brought in to get it out Wednesday afternoon. It was full of rocks and other debris.
Courtesy: Adam DeFalco of DeFalco's Towing
“It was so scary and so fast at the same time,” she says.
Courtesy: Adam DeFalco of DeFalco's Towing
It happened when Pagan was driving to work around 5:30 a.m. Tuesday. She says she saw water pooling on the road but saw three cars in front of her make it through. She says she thought it was safe as well, but the next thing she knew, her car was engulfed.
Courtesy: Adam DeFalco of DeFalco's Towing
“I was trying to get the door open. I got bruises on my arm, and I couldn’t get it open. So then, what I did was I took off my seatbelt and I turned around and I was pushing it with the door, with my feet, my legs. I managed to get it a little bit open, and I managed to swim and walk to the edge,” Pagan says.
She says that while she was trying to escape, she was thinking of her family.
“I can’t just let go. I have to be strong for my granddaughters. God gave me the opportunity,” Pagan says.
She is now working with her insurance company to see if they will cover the damage. She says she will be taking an Uber to get to work until she can get a new car.