Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A New Jersey state trooper and off-duty firefighter saved the life of a trucker who crashed on the New Jersey Turnpike.

A tractor-trailer veered across eight traffic lanes and jackknifed into a guardrail Tuesday morning near a turnpike entrance ramp in Edison just off route 287. Robert Harrison, the 44-year-old driver, suffered an apparent heart attack following the crash.

Trooper Sean Fitzgerald applied a defibrillator and began CPR when he realized Harrington wasn’t breathing. Firefighter Tom Brennan assisted with CPR until an ambulance arrived.

Harrington, of Fitchburg, Massachusetts, was taken to an area hospital and is listed in critical condition. No other vehicles were struck during the crash.

Authorities said others at the scene also assisted, including a turnpike employee and two motorists who carried Harrington out of the truck as police arrived. Fitzgerald said he had never used the defibrillator before Tuesday.

“As a trooper, you see more negative than positive out there,” Fitzgerald said. “It feels good when you can help someone and it feels good knowing that all those people had stopped to help before I got there.”

State Police Sergeant Stephen Jones said the crash was likely caused by a medical issue, but they are still investigating.

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