Right place, right time: Troopers recount pulling man to safety following fiery crash in Bridgewater Township

EWING TOWNSHIP, New Jersey (WPVI) -- New Jersey State Police body camera video shows the dramatic moments two troopers pulled a man from a burning tractor-trailer just before the engine exploded.

The video starts with a traffic stop on I-287 in Bridgewater Township, Somerset County on Monday afternoon. As Trooper Robert Tarleton is checking the driver's license and registration, he heard the crash.

"I heard the truck hit the guardrail. And at that point, I looked up and I saw the truck crash and I thought someone could be hurt over there," said Tarleton.

Lt. Edward Ryer just happened to be heading home from work when he saw the crash and pulled over.

"I saw him strike the guide rail and the bridge and then, within a second, the van burst into flames," said Ryer.

Together, the two men pulled the driver from the burning cab moments before it exploded.

The driver is Ron Hickman, 63, a husband, father and grandfather from Ohio. Action News spoke with his daughter, Tabitha Finnegan.

"He told me he felt real dizzy, lightheaded. He remembers putting the blinker on to get onto the side of the road and the next thing he remembers is waking up on the side of the street," said Finnegan.

She says the body camera video was hard to watch.

"I broke down and cried," Finnegan said through tears. "My dad was extremely lucky."

"I'm really glad that I was in the right place at the right time...I'm just really happy that everything planned out the way that it did," said Tarleton.

"I thank god for putting me there at that time to help Mr. Hickman, and I thank God for the strength to do what I did. What we did," said Ryer.

Hickman was released from the hospital Tuesday and is home in Ohio resting. His daughter says the family hopes to come to New Jersey to thank the troopers in person soon.
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