SPARTA, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Sudden danger was followed by quick action on a New Jersey highway when a truck caught fire and rolled toward other vehicles, including a police cruiser.
“It happened so fast; it was scary,” truck driver Jairo Simbaqueba told CBS2’s Dave Carlin.
Simbaqueba had just jumped out of the driver’s seat.
He said he pulled over on southbound Route 15 in Sparta after realizing flames were coming from underneath.
He thought he was watching from a safe distance from behind the police car, when the truck barreled across several lanes of traffic.
“The truck just came back and came toward the police car,” Simbaqueba said.
Sparta Police Department officers scattered. The officers tried to save their patrol cars which were right in the line of fire.
Sparta police Sgt. Joseph Pensado didn’t even have time to get his car in gear.
Sgt. Pensado made the split second decision to get out of the patrol car and dive out of the way of the burning snack truck.
“Somehow the truck just missed the police car and everything, and went all the way to the left lane and then up against the guard rail, and that stopped the truck pretty much,” Simbaqueba said.
Sgt. Pensado has just minor injuries and a vivid memory of how much worse things could have been.