NUTLEY, N.J. (AP) — A woman would have drowned inside her car following a crash if not for a quick-thinking bystander who jumped into a river, pried open the door and carried her to safety, officials said.
The 50-year-old woman driving a sport utility vehicle jumped a curb in Nutley, New Jersey, on Tuesday morning and plunged into about 10 feet of water in the Passaic River, police said. Jason Moss, 30, was leaving the gym when the accident happened, quickly changed into his gym shorts and jumped into the water after the woman.
"I just jumped into the water," Moss said. "I didn't realize how shallow it was. I hit some rocks as I jumped down."
Moss said he could see the woman floating unconscious as the vehicle filled with water and he tried to pull the door open, but it wouldn't budge.
"It was probably the scariest moment of my life," he said. "If I didn't pull her out, she was dead."
He eventually pried the door open, grabbed the woman and pulled her to safety just as emergency responders arrived. The woman was taken to a hospital with injuries that police said weren't life-threatening.
He said he wouldn't think twice about doing it again.
"I have a lot of my friends in my life calling me a hero," he said. "It was more about doing the right thing."
Moss refused to be transported to the hospital and went to an urgent care facility to get a tetanus shot, police said.
The crash remains under investigation and the car was removed from the water by scuba teams and a towing company.