TOWN OF CORTLANDT (CBSNewYork) – A Westchester County police officer thought he was making a traffic stop, but ended up saving the life of a driver in distress on Christmas Day.

Edward Salvato was driving along Route 6 near the Cortlandt town center, when Officer David Dirienzo pulled him over.

Dirienzo quickly saw that Salvato was choking. The officer got him out of the car and gave him the Heimlich maneuver.

“He’s beet red, he’s having severe difficulty breathing, he can’t verbally respond to me,” Dirienzo told CBS2.

“I thought something came in the window at me,” Salvato added. “It actually turned out to be a tooth filling that came loose.”

Salvato says Dirienzo gave him the best Christmas gift anyone could give – his life.

For his heroism, Dirienzo has been nominated for the Westchester County Police Life Saving Award.