ISLIP, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – It was a heartwarming moment Tuesday in a Long Island hospital room when an 8-year-old boy met face-to-face with the stranger who saved his life.
Isaiah Ronmel Martinez was badly hurt in a horrifying crash last week.
“The kid has redefined what bravery is to me,” his rescuer, 36-year-old Kevin Stewart, told CBS2’s Scott Rapoport. “And for that I am eternally thankful to him.”
Stewart was driving home shortly after midnight last Wednesday when he came upon a wreck on the Sagtikos Parkway in North Bay Shore. Martinez and his father, Carlos, had been ejected from a minivan after police say Carlos lost control and slammed into a median.
Carlos died at the scene and Isaiah was left trapped and bleeding under the vehicle, which flipped on top of him.
WEB EXTRA: More from Det. Kevin Stewart on his heroic rescue:
Stewart told Rapoport it was a life or death situation.
“I think that if we didn’t act quickly, I don’t think Isaiah would have made it,” he said.
The husband, father of two and NYPD detective knew he had to act fast to extricate Isaiah from under the 4,000 pound minivan. But how? The pressure was mounting.
“I noticed that the child wasn’t moving, he wasn’t talking,” Stewart said.
He said he and another Good Samaritan managed to get a jack out of their car and physically lifted the mangled vehicle off Isaiah. The little boy suffered from a pelvic fracture and head injuries, but he’s alive.
“Looked at me and said, ‘I don’t want to die.’ I just said, ‘no, you’re not going to die, not today. We are here, we’re going to help,’” Stewart said.
Isaiah was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital in West Islip, where his mother said he is progressing and will recover from his injuries.
All thanks to the Good Samaritan police officer who just happened to be on the lonely road in the dark of night with a young boy’s life on the line.
“Thank you so much for everything you did,” Isaiah’s mother, Maria, said.
Stewart said his experience in the NYPD played an important role in allowing him to think quickly and help save the boy.