CAMDEN, NJ - The Camden County Police Department is hoping to identify good Samaritans who aided in the rescue of four men in a two-car crash on I-676 nearly two weeks ago.
On Sunday, April 7, as Officer Joseph Mair made his way to the source of a fire that he viewed while on patrol near 7th and Sycamore streets, he radioed out an alert.
Mair was joined by Delaware River Port Authority Police Department Officer Franklin Flash at the scene of a two-car crash close to the median between exits 4 and 5A. They were followed by Camden County Officers: Vaughn Edwards, Brian McCline, and Vincent Russomanno.
But then there were other reinforcements: civilians who were either already on the scene or soon stopped to assist. With one of the two vehicles, a four-door sedan, already engulfed in flames, all help was welcome to pull out the occupants.
“It literally took everyone,” said Edwards, who was the third officer to reach the scene. “Everyone and every second.”
Camden County Police acknowledged what they believe to be, three or four male bystanders Friday. The responding officers stressed the importance of the civilian assistance in recovering the crash victims, all of which survived.
“If the good Samaritans weren’t there, it probably would have turned out much worse,” McCline said.
Lt. John Martinez said that the county is working with New Jersey State Police to put names to the bystanders. But he’s hoping for word from the public, too. Camden County Police on Friday released body cam footage taken from multiple officers.
“Hopefully anybody that knows who they are, we would very much like to have (the bystanders) recognized for being the heroes they are,” Martinez said. “These people could have been a mailman, an accountant, a real estate agent, and yet they stopped and put their lives on the line to help their fellow man. We don’t really deal with fires that often, but for a civilian to do it, that goes above and beyond anything.”
Edwards recalled that one of the civilians hopped the median with a medical bag in hand after parking in a southbound lane. The man would help get one of the victims onto a Cooper EMS stretcher.
“He assisted wherever we needed him, he went right to it,” Edwards said.
The cause of the crash, which falls under state police jurisdiction due to its location on I-676, is still yet to be determined.