GLEN ROCK, NJ – Glen Rock Police had a busy and dangerous Saturday morning when they extricated an allegedly intoxicated man from a burning vehicle after a "DWI related" crash.
On Saturday, July 13 just after 4 a.m., officers responded to the area of Lincoln Avenue and Rock Road where they discoverd a "headon" motor vehicle crash. One of the vehicles, caught fire and was engulfed in flames.
The driver of the vehicle engulfed in flames was able to get out, police reported. However, the driver of the second nearby vehicle was entrapped and seriously injured. Responding paramedics were unable to assist the victim due to the severity of the working vehicle fire, police said.
"With complete disregard for their personal safety Sgt. Greg Carter, P.O. Tarantino and P.O. Nick Onove immediately began rescue efforts," Chief Dean Ackermann said in a press release. "Assisted by officers from Ridgewood and Hawthorne, they began a fire extinguisher brigade to hold back the flames while they used extrication equipment from their patrol vehicles and their bare hands to free the trapped victim."
The driver of the smaller vehicle, Jason A. Bednar, 41, of Hawthorne, is 6’7” tall and weighs about 250 pounds, police said. He was not wearing a seatbelt and was entwined in the wreckage of the vehicle. Officers from several other law enforcement agencies also arrived to both assist on scene and handle additional calls for service in other areas of Glen Rock.
"Once removed from the vehicle, the seriously injured and intoxicated victim" was turned over Valley Hospital Paramedics and EMT’s from the Glen Rock Volunteer Ambulance Corps who treated the victim at transported him to St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson, police said.
The driver of the other vehicle that was engulfed in flames, a 23-year-old Passaic man, was also transported to St. Joseph’s with moderate injuries.
Fire Fighters from the Glen Rock Volunteer Fire Department arrived as rescue operations were in progress. They were able to bring under control and extinguish the vehicle fire shortly thereafter.
The Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office Fatal Accident Team and Bergen County Sheriff’s Department BCI Unit responded to assist Glen Rock officers with investigation of the accident. Lincoln Avenue between Kenmore Place and Isabella Place remained closed until approximately 9 a.m. Saturday.
Subsequent to the investigation, P.O. John Tarantino charged Bednar with one count each of Assault by Auto; Driving While Intoxicated; and Reckless Driving. Bednar remained at the hospital and will be scheduled to appear before Central Judicial Processing at the Superior Court in Hackensack at a later date.
Chief Dean Ackermann states that these charged are merely accusations and that the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and would also like to thank the agencies who responded to assist.