CAMDEN COUNTY, N.J. (WPVI) -- Last week, a Camden County officer was honored for saving passengers in a fiery car crash.
Friday night, Officer Joseph Mair is listed in critical but stable condition in the Intensive Care Unit at Cooper Hospital.
His family and fiancée have been by his bedside after coming out of surgery.
Everyone was shaken by the fact that just last week, he was rescuing people from a fiery crash and now he himself is in the trauma unit after being struck by a hit-and-run driver.
"His initial concern is he wants to get back to work and our message to him is just focus on recovery." said Camden County Police chief Scott Thomson.
It would seem inconceivable that Chief Thomson would be reporting that an officer is now fighting for his own life that only last week was being honored for bravery, and for his courage. 28-year-old Officer Mair was one of four officers who rescued people from a burning car last week putting their own lives at risk.
Thomson says, "He's a tremendous officer, he embodies everything you or I would want and the public would want in a police officer."
Thursday night Officer Mair was at Newport and Thurman when he heard a loud crash and got out of his police car to investigate. Seconds later, the driver of one of the vehicles involved, a taxi tried to flee when the officer was struck.
A witness asked that we not show her face.
"The taxi driver hit the officers car then basically dragged the officer with him, everybody was paying attention to the car not knowing that the officer was down." said the witness.
The witness then ran to check on the officer.
"Just asking him if he was okay if he was responsive. And he was, he was trying to say his gun was on the ground cause everything flew off of him." she adds.
Police say the taxi driver kept on going and then lost control, went across an empty lot and crashed into a wall. The officer suffered significant injuries to his hips and legs. He has undergone one surgery and has two more scheduled for next week.
"Like so many brave men and women that put the uniform on every day, he was charging head long into where he thought people needed him and unfortunately it cost him." said Thomson.
Rescuing people from burning vehicles one day and days later being critically injured by a hit and run driver speaks volumes about how unpredictable police work can be.
"It sounds cliché-ish but you just never know and it can happen at any moment." says the chief.
The Taxi driver identified as a 60-year-old man was taken into custody. Charges by the prosecutors are pending as they continue to investigate the incident.
Hero Camden County cop critically injured by hit-and-run driver
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