Troopers George Ward, Edgar Rodriguez and Gary Rokoszak of Troop B in Totowa were the first on the scene of the crash on the highway's eastbound side just after 3 a.m. Friday.
They found a front-seat passenger outside a Honda sedan that had struck the rig -- and both the driver and rear-seat passenger trapped inside.
"The driver was conscious and alert," State Police reported, "but the rear-seat passenger was having difficulty breathing and needed to be removed from the vehicle immediately."
Paterson firefighters arrived within moments and cut the sedan's doors off.
"The troopers and firefighters then worked together as a team to quickly stabilize the victims and remove them from the vehicle," State Police reported.
After EMS rendered aid, the victims were safely moved to the ambulances and taken to an area hospital.
The front-seat passenger was released after being treated.
Her two companions sustained serious injuries but were expected to fully recover, State Police reported.
"The quick response and life-saving efforts by the troopers, firefighters, and first responders undoubtedly led to the victims' survival," the NJSP said.
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