HOLTSVILLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Several Long Island police officers are being credited for their heroism for saving a driver from his burning vehicle Sunday night.
CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reports one of the officers was off-duty when he saw the fire.
Video shows officers frantically trying to rescue the driver of a vehicle that swerved off the Long Island Expressway in Holtsville.
The vehicle rolled down the embankment and became wedged between trees, pinning the driver.
“I was coming home from work and came upon a car in the woods with the car on fire,” said Suffolk County Police Dispatcher Christopher Sabella.
Sabella, who was off-duty, raced down the embankment and was met there by two officers from emergency services using fire extinguishers to battle the rising flames.
“At this point now, the fire is getting bigger again and it’s coming up the front windshield of the car,” said Glen Baillargeon of the Suffolk County Police Emergency Services.
Officer William Judge stood by the driver’s side as responding firefighters struggled to stretch a hose to douse the flames.
“I had felt the heat, felt it coming over the dashboard,” said Judge. “I just wanted to reassure him we weren’t going to leave him there.”
The car fire was eventually put out and rescuers removed the roof to pull the driver to safety. The driver has not been identified.
Police believe he had a medical emergency, which caused him to crash.
Suffolk County Police Commissioner Timothy Sini said the driver is expected to recover, thanks to some brave and quick-thinking officers.
“There are people in this county doing good things to save lives,” said Sini.
The commissioner said commendations are likely, pointing out that two of the officers involved in this rescue talked someone off a bridge last week who had been threatening to jump.
Suffolk County Police also credit two good Samaritans who called police and stayed at the accident scene to help.