Off-duty NJ correction officer rescues woman minutes before car explodes

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, N.J. — A Monroe woman is alive thanks to the quick actions of an off-duty correction officer who was on his way home from a double shift at Garden State Youth Correctional Facility when he saw a car crash with a fire starting under the hood.

"I seen other cars just driving by, so I said, 'I have to make a decision now,'" Correction Officer Donald Carson, 33, said. "So basically, I just made a U-turn and I approached it and I see her, you know, in shock."

He described the 59-year-old driver as being in a daze after she had struck the rear-end of a tractor trailer. The airbags had gone off and her wrist was badly broken.

"I just did my best and I told her it’s going to be OK," Carson said. "I told her I was law enforcement and we’re going to get you out of here."

He unbuckled her seat belt and carried her to safety. Within two or three minutes, police officers arrived -- and the car exploded.

"I would describe his actions as heroic," South Brunswick Police Chief Raymond J. Hayducka Jr. said. "His actions were quick and his training certainly paid off. Obviously, someone is alive today because of it."

The crash happened at about 9:15 p.m. Sunday at Route 35 and Route 32 in South Brunswick.

The driver was hospitalized and is expected to be OK.