NBC10- Cydney Long
Police say without the quick-thinking of Trooper Ryan Kauffman and Turnpike veteran Austin McCabe the driver of a tractor-trailer involved in a horrible accident in Carney's Point may not be alive today.
A New Jersey State Trooper and turnpike worker are being hailed as heroes after helping to save the life of a man who suffered a severed leg during a collision in Carneys Point, NJ.
"I'm just glad we were in a good place at a good time. It's all about timing with injuries like that and he's lucky that we were close," said Trooper Ryan Kauffmann.
A tractor-trailer and box truck crashed along the New Jersey Turnpike near mile marker 37 Wednesday night. The driver of the box truck careened off the turnpike into a ditch.
Investigators say a passing motorist alerted authorities of the accident and Kauffmann rushed to the scene, along with Austin McCabe, a 33-year-veteran of the NJ Turnpike.
"He was completely conscious and alert and anything we asked him, he was doing," said Kauffmann. "He was begging for help for his life."
Investigators say the 25-year-old man’s left leg was severed upon impact.
"I just kept on asking him his name, what he did, was he married, did he have any children, trying to keep him calm so he didn't go into shock," said McCabe.
Police have not released the victim’s name.
“He was trying to get out,” said McCabe. “He was very upset and we tried to save his life to stop the bleeding. That was our first issue.”
Both men worked against the clock fearing that the truck would catch fire.
"It's always nervous with trucks and lubricants that there could be risks of fire and we already had one problem with blood loss were were fighting and entrapment, we didn't want it to be on fire as well," said Trooper Kauffmann.
They used a State Police issued trauma kit and a quick clot gauze to keep the man from bleeding to death. They also applied two military-style tourniquets to the victims left leg as they waited for fire crews and a medevac chopper to arrive.
The man was airlifted to Christiana Hospital. His left leg was amputated.
The men are grateful their training kicked in but also give a lot credit the victim for helping to save his own life.
"We did what came natural to us, he (Kauffmann) had the gear, we did what we hope somebody else would have done if it was you or I," said McCabe.