UPDATE: The trapped Hawthorne driver rescued from his car before the flames of a burning truck could reach him after a head-on crash in Glen Rock over the weekend was drunk, authorities said.
Jason A. Bednar, 41, of Hawthorne was saved by a trio of Glen Rock police officers with “complete disregard for their personal safety,” Police Chief Dean Ackermann said.
Responding police Sgt. Greg Carter and Officers John Tarantino and Nick Onove found a Chevy Trailblazer in flames just after 4 a.m. Saturday on Lincoln Avenue at Rock Road, Ackermann said.
The Trailblazer driver got out of his truck following the head-on crash, he said.
Bednar, who “is 6’7” tall and weighs about 250 pounds, was entwined in the wreckage” of his four-door Nissan, the chief said.
Assisted by their colleagues from Ridgewood and Hawthorne, the Glen Rock officers began a fire extinguisher brigade to hold back the flames, as police dashcam video shows.
“Meanwhile, they used extrication equipment from their patrol vehicles and their bare hands to free the trapped victim,” Ackermann said.
Once removed from the vehicle, Bednar “was turned over to Valley Hospital paramedics and EMTs from the Glen Rock Volunteer Ambulance Corps, who treated the victim and transported him to St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson,” the chief said.
The driver of the Chevy, a 23-year-old Passaic man, was also transported to St. Joseph’s with moderate injuries, he said.
Glen Rock firefighters extinguished the blaze.
Lincoln Avenue between Kenmore Place and Isabella Place remained closed until just before 9 a.m. while the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office Fatal Accident Investigation Unit investigated with Glen Rock police.
The Bergen County Sheriff’s Bureau of Criminal Identification collected evidence.
Bednar was charged with assault by auto, DWI and reckless driving.
He remained hospitalized and will be scheduled for a Central Judicial Processing Court proceeding in Hackensack.
Boyd A. Loving took the photos and contributed to this account.
ALSO SEE: A person stepped in front of a train and was killed Saturday afternoon in Glen Rock, responders said.
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