WEST ORANGE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A northern New Jersey police officer who was nearly killed when a tree fell on his car during Superstorm Sandy was on the road to recovery Tuesday.

“I am so humbled,” said Wayne Police Officer Bob Franco. “I am so overwhelmed.”

And as 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reported, Franco is extremely lucky to be alive. During the height of Sandy, Franco found himself trapped inside his car, crushed by a fallen tree.

1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reports

“My head was pinned against my right shoulder, and my chin was jammed into my chest, and that’s when, you know, I got the numbness sensation that started in my feet,” he said.

Franco suffered a broken neck and could barely breathe. A hair over, and he would be dead.

Fellow police officers and firefighters risked downed wires to cut him free. Grateful for all the support, the 15-year veteran was taking his first steps toward recovery Tuesday at the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in West Orange.

“I’m going to do it. I’ve got a wife and three kids to take care of and a career to finish,” Franco said.

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