New Jersey State Police troopers saved an injured trucker with just moments to spare before his tractor-trailer exploded after a crash on Monday.
The moment was caught on a trooper’s body camera as he and another officer pried open the cabin door of the crashed tractor-trailer and pulled the trucker out while flames rapidly engulfed the truck. The New Jersey State Police identified the rescuers as Trooper Robert Tarleton and off-duty State Police Lt. Edward Ryer.
Tarleton was on video handling a normal traffic stop when he witnessed the tractor-trailer run off the right side of the road before hitting a guardrail and then abutment of an overpass before catching fire.
After witnessing the crash Tarleton quickly told the stopped driver, “You’re good, get out of here,” and handed back the driver’s credentials before he raced to his police vehicle.
“As he drove to the scene, Trooper Tarleton calmly provided an update to dispatch before exiting his vehicle and sprinting to the burning tractor-trailer,” New Jersey State Police said.
As he arrived on the scene, Tarleton caught up with Ryer who was returning home from work and was the first to get to the crashed tractor-trailer. Ryer was already pulling the injured driver from the vehicle as Tarleton grabbed ahold of the driver to help drag him away.
The trucker was barely out of the cabin of his crashed vehicle before an explosion could be heard. The two police officers proceeded to get the driver another few yards away before another explosion rocked the tractor-trailer and flames spewed from its engine compartment.
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On Monday, 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. Their quick and decisive actions are a credit to the Division and exemplify our core values of Honor, Duty, Fidelity.
New Jersey State Police said the driver suffered only minor injuries and was transported to Morristown Medical Center for evaluation. The cause of the crash is currently under investigation.