Off-duty N.J. firefighter helps revive man who stopped breathing after car crash

An off-duty Bergen County firefighter sprang into action Tuesday afternoon and helped revive a man who stopped breathing after being involved in a car crash, officials said.

While driving on Route 80 in Elmwood Park Tuesday, Hackensack Deputy Fire Chief John Taylor noticed a car crash in the left lane of the other side of the highway and had his friend who was driving pull over their truck. Taylor said he looked into the pickup involved in the crash and could see a man slumped over in his seat, motionless.

After seeing a man with a ratchet furiously pounding on one of the windows of the truck, Taylor took the tool, mounted the barrier and shattered one of the truck windows, he said. Taylor was able to reach inside to the victim and saw the man’s face had turned blue, he said.

With the help of two other people, Taylor pulled the victim out of the car, said Fire Capt. Justin Derevyanik. Then, Taylor and a woman began CPR on the man, not stopping until the New Jersey State Police arrived, said Derevyanik. After the state police used a defibrillator on the victim, Taylor, a state trooper and the unidentified woman continued CPR for 15 minutes until the EMS arrived and took over, said Derevyanik.

The victim was taken to Hackensack University Medical Center and as of Wednesday morning was in critical condition, said Derevyanik.

“When you’re trained and it’s been long enough, it just becomes second nature,” said Taylor, a Hackensack firefighter for 22 years.

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Rodrigo Torrejon may be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @rodrigotorrejon.


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