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Police: Trapped Driver Pulled From Burning SUV By Passing West Milford Firefighter Was Drunk

Firefighter Lukas Graf was in his car when he spotted the burning SUV in the woods off Cahill Cross Road around 11:15 p.m. Sept. 8.
Firefighter Lukas Graf was in his car when he spotted the burning SUV in the woods off Cahill Cross Road around 11:15 p.m. Sept. 8. Photo Credit: Contributed photo

A trapped Wayne driver who was rescued from certain death when a passing West Milford firefighter pulled him from his burning, overturned SUV was drunk, authorities said.

Jason Paradiso, 36, was shouting and banging for help as off-duty firefighter Lukas Graf rushed into the woods off Cahill Cross Road with an extinguisher around 11:15 p.m. Sept. 8, authorities said.

Graf knocked back some of the fire, climbed in through the rear hatch and rescued Paradiso as flames spread from the engine to the cabin, West Milford Fire Chief Michael Blondin said.

Colleagues arrived moments later and doused the blaze, the chief said.

Paradiso "refused to cooperate with the investigation and, after exhibiting signs of intoxication, was placed under arrest," West Milford police said in a news release this past week. He was charged criminally with hindering apprehension and obstruction and received summonses for DWI, refusal to submit to breath samples, careless driving, failing to stay within a lane and failing to exhibit documents, they said.

Paradiso was released to a friend and was awaiting court action, police said.

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