Jeffrey R. Heimbach saved Carlos E. Salinas from burning, Roxbury Township, New Jersey, September 23, 2008. Salinas, 18, was the driver of a sport utility vehicle that, at night, entered the opposing lanes of traffic on an interstate highway and collided with two oncoming vehicles. Salinas’s vehicle came to a stop on the highway, with Salinas lying unconscious on the front seats, his legs trapped by wreckage. Other motorists stopped at the scene, including Heimbach, 29, an off-duty state trooper. Heimbach and two other men removed a passenger from the back seat of Salinas’s vehicle, and when Heimbach returned to look for others, he found Salinas. Flames by then had erupted in the engine compartment. After Heimbach reached through the window of the front passenger-side door and attempted unsuccessfully to move Salinas, he crawled through the rear door on that side, completely entering the vehicle. He pulled Salinas partially into the back seat, and then he forced away the driver’s seat to free Salinas’s legs as flames entered the vehicle through its firewall. Grasping Salinas by the shoulders, Heimbach pulled him the rest of the way into the back seat and then out of the vehicle. He took him to safety, flames growing to engulf the vehicle. Salinas was hospitalized for his injuries.
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