A heart-stopping video posted by a Middlesex County police department shows an officer running out of his car to rescue a driver from a burning vehicle in a Thanksgiving Day crash.
The 3-minute and 40-second dashcam tape shows Monroe Township officer Douglas Perrone jumping out of his vehicle to Pergola Avenue near Namsan Drive around 8:40 p.m., and running straight to the fully-engulfed Ford Fusion -- the driver trapped inside.
Perrone tried using his fire extinguisher to put out the blaze, but when that wasn't working, he climbed inside of the vehicle and pulled the driver from the car.
Monroe Township Volunteer Fire Company No. 1 Deputy Chief Lonnie Pipero arrived on scene to assist with the rescue.
The 30-year-old male driver was taken to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital by Monroe Township First Aid Squad, in serious condition with internal injuries.
Perrone was also hospitalized for smoke inhalation, and released, as firefighters quickly put out the blaze.
An investigation found the Fusion was heading eastbound on Pergola Avenue when the driver crossed over the double-yellow line and struck a tree, overturned and then came to stop.
The driver of a 2018 Kia Optima was unable to avoid the Fusion, and struck it while it was overturned in the middle of the roadway. The Optima driver was uninjured.
This accident is being investigated by Sgt. Anthony Trohalides and Officer Daniel Mosakowski of the Monroe Twp. Traffic Safety Division.
Anyone who might have witnessed this crash is asked to contact the Monroe Township Police Traffic Safety Division at 732-521-0222 Ext. 126.
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