Mercer County official found wandering after abandoning car, report says
Mercer County's elected county executive has acknowledged a June incident in which Pennsylvania troopers found him wandering after he had abandoned his car, telling police that he had been racing in "Paris."
The Trentonian reported that it obtained a police report detailing how the Democrat had been found walking along the Pennsylvania Turnpike near the Lawn Service Area on June 1 after leaving his county-issued car on the side of the road.
A "very confused" Hughes told the trooper he ran out of gas and was racing in Paris, The Trentonian said the trooper wrote in his report.
Hughes was taken to a hospital after his wife told the trooper that her husband had a medical condition that could cause confusion, according to the Trentonian, which reported a sobriety test was not given.
Pennsylvania State Police did not immediately respond to a message from New Jersey 101.5 on Monday morning seeking a copy of the police report.
Mercer County spokeswoman Julie Wilmont told New Jersey 101.5 that Hughes has "always been transparent" about a condition called trigeminal neuralgia, which can inflict severe pain to the nerves along his jaw. He takes medication prescribed by his doctor for the condition.
"The extreme adverse reaction he had to the medication one day almost a year ago was an oddity, and he usually has no reaction at all and functions 100%. In fact, he was back at work the next day. His record speaks for itself, and he is fully capable of, and committed to, performing his duties as County Executive and serving the residents of Mercer County," Wilmont said.
Wilmont said Mercer County's prosecutor, sheriff and county executive are assigned vehicles for around-the-clock use as the jobs are considered 24/7 positions. She did not have information about his schedule for that day.
At the time, non-essential travel was discouraged in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Hughes is a former freeholder who was first elected as executive in 2003.