A New Jersey man whose dog was inside a pickup truck that plunged through the ice on a frozen river earlier this year has been indicted on animal cruelty and criminal mischief charges.
An Ocean County grand jury handed up the indictment Tuesday against 28-year-old Toms River resident Andrew Mayer. He could face several years in prison if convicted on all counts.
Authorities have said Mayer's 2-year-old boxer mix, Rolo, was found dead after the truck sank March 1. Another man got out of the truck before it went onto the ice. Neither was injured. Rolo was in the back seat of the truck when it plunged through the ice on the Toms River.
Bystanders who saw the truck doing doughnuts on the river called police. But by the time they arrived, the truck had submerged with Rolo inside.
A friend of Mayer who asked that NBC 4 New York not use his name said Mayer tried to get the dog out of the backseat before the truck crashed through the ice, but the dog was terrified -- and the vehicle sank so quickly.
"He would do anything for that dog, anything," the friend said. "That was his baby."
Mayer, who rents the basement of a home with his friend Daniel Joly, has declined to talk to NBC 4 New York. Police said Joly, who was a passenger in the truck at one point, told investigators he argued with Mayer about driving on the frozen river and got out of the vehicle.