Two New Jersey state troopers are being hailed as heroes for saving a man from a fiery wreckage.
On Monday, Lt. Edward Ryer and Trooper Robert Tarleton rescued a truck driver from a burning tractor-trailer moments before it exploded — and their valiant act was captured on video.
As seen in footage captured on Tarleton’s body camera, the state trooper was making a routine traffic stop on Interstate 287 in Bridgewater Township when a semi truck nearby slammed into a guardrail and caught on fire with its driver still inside.
In the video, Tarleton immediately jumps into action, hopping into his car to request for fire and emergency responders before speeding toward the burning truck.
After Tarleton gets out of the car and runs over to the wreck, Ryer — who happened to be driving on the same interstate when he witnessed the crash — is already by the semi attempting to pull a man out from the blazing vehicle.
“Go! Go!” Tarleton can be heard saying in the video. “You gotta go! We gotta go!”
In the dramatic footage, Ryer and Tarleton both grab the driver by the arm and drag him to safety. A large explosion can be heard off-camera seconds later.
“Are you alright?” Tarleton asks the driver, before advising the group that they should retreat further away from the truck as the vehicle continues to be engulfed in flames.
The New Jersey State Troopers have since praised Tarleton and Ryer for their quick thinking heroic action, writing on their Facebook account on Tuesday, “Yesterday, Lieutenant Edward Ryer and Trooper Robert Tarleton pulled a man out of a burning tractor-trailer on Interstate 287 in Bridgewater Township, Somerset County just seconds before it exploded.”
They continued, “Their quick and decisive actions are a credit to the Division and exemplify our core values of Honor, Duty, Fidelity.”
While authorities did not name the driver in their statement, WPVI identified the man as Ron Hickman, a 63-year-old husband, father and grandfather from Ohio.
“He told me he felt real dizzy, lightheaded. He remembers putting the blinker on to get onto the side of the road and the next thing he remembers is waking up on the side of the street,” Hickman’s daughter, Tabitha Finnegan, told the local news outlet. “My dad was extremely lucky.”
Following the crash, Hickman was transported Morristown Medical Center where doctors determined he had only suffered minor injuries, according to NBC10.
“Thank you for being the heroes you are,” Hickeman’s family wrote in a statement to the troopers, per the outlet. “Our family still has a husband, a father and papa because of you.”
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