Off-duty police pulls man from burning car after explosion - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Off-duty police pulls man from burning car after explosion

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An off-duty police officer pulled a man from a burning car after an accident. (Source: News 12/CNN) An off-duty police officer pulled a man from a burning car after an accident. (Source: News 12/CNN)

WHITE PLAINS, NY (CNN) - An off-duty police officer risked his own life to pull a badly hurt driver to safety after crash led to a fiery explosion at gas pumps in New York.

John Vescio, in his No. 13 Yankees jersey, went from being a commuter to a rescuer.

Vescio is a senior investigator with the New York State Police, based in New York City.

On Tuesday, he stopped at the Mobil station on the Hutchinson River Parkway to gas up his unmarked state police car.

"I was standing there at the pump and the only thing I remember hearing was a speeding car; somebody that was entering into the gas station at a higher rate of speed than normal," Vescio said.

Video from a security camera at the station caught what happened next.

A 69-year-old man who was driving into the station apparently blacked out, slamming into the gas pump and cars stopped there, including Vescio's.

"The next thing I know, the pump was coming down on top of me," Vescio said.

Even though he was bruised, that's when Vescio's training and 20 years with the state police kicked in.

He pulled the driver from the car as flames began to spread, saving the man's life.

But getting him out of the car was not easy.

"You could see the way his legs were tucked under by the seat. His seatbelt was on. He was pretty much helpless," Vescio said.

As is the nature of police culture, Vescio is getting some good natured ribbing from his colleagues. But his boss makes it clear, what he did was very special.

"John was a civilian at the time. You see him in his Yankee jersey and shorts, and he becomes a victim and then he becomes a hero." said Maj. Keith Corlett of the New York State Police.

Vescio has visited with the unidentified man he saved, and said the man and his family are grateful for what he did.

Copyright 2014 News 12 via CNN. All rights reserved.

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