RONKONKOMA, N.Y. — An off-duty police officer and volunteer firefighter are being called “guardian angels” after authorities say they rescued a woman from a fiery crash on the Long Island Expressway.
Suffolk County police say Melissa Ortiz, 23, was heading east on the highway in Ronkonkoma when her vehicle collided with a National Grid truck around 10:50 a.m. Wednesday.
The impact caused her SUV to overturn and Ortiz was trapped in the vehicle.
Highway Patrol Officer Thomas Mutarelli and Elmont volunteer firefighter Jeffrey Dupoux happened to be nearby and jumped into action.
Mutarelli, who was on his way home at the time of the crash, used his car to block traffic and then rushed to the overturned vehicle where he was joined by Dupoux. They pulled Ortiz to safety just minutes before her car was engulfed in flames.
Ortiz and the truck driver were both treated at Stony Brook Medicine Hospital for non-life threatening injuries. They were both released.
“They were at the right place, at the right time, and performed an act of courage that saved a life,” said Commissioner Timothy Sini.