On Monday, March 2, at approximately 3:35 p.m., Trooper Robert Tarleton was speaking with a driver on a motor vehicle stop northbound on I-287 in Bridgewater Township when a nearby tractor trailer ran off the right side of the road in the express lanes, striking the guardrail and bridge abutment before becoming engulfed in flames.
When Trooper Tarleton heard the impact and observed the crash, he immediately returned the driver’s credentials and ran back to his troop car to request for fire and emergency medical services personnel to respond to the crash.
As he drove to the scene, Trooper Tarleton calmly provided an update to dispatch before exiting his vehicle and sprinting to the burning tractor-trailer. As he approached the truck, State Police Lieutenant Edward Ryer, who was on his way home from work when he witnessed the crash, was out of his vehicle attempting to rescue the driver from the cab. Trooper Tarleton and Lieutenant Ryer then worked together to pull the driver from the burning cab, dragging him to safety, seconds before it exploded.
The driver sustained minor injuries in the crash and was transported to Morristown Medical Center for evaluation. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.