Police, fire and EMS were dispatched to Pergola Avenue in Monroe, at the intersection of Namsan Drive, around 8:38 p.m. Nov. 26. An overturned vehicle was fully engulfed in flames in the middle of the roadway, with the driver trapped inside.
Officer Douglas Perrone attempted to extinguish the fire with a fire extinguisher. He then climbed inside the burning vehicle and was able to pull out the driver, according to information provided by the Monroe Township Police Department.
Perrone was assisted by Fire Department Deputy Chief Lonnie Pipero.
The 30-year-old male driver was transported to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick in serious condition due to internal injuries, according to the statement.
Perrone was taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation. He was treated and released, according to the statement.
Monroe Township Volunteer Fire Co. No. 1 was able to extinguish the fire.
The preliminary investigation revealed that the 2013 Ford Fusion driven by the 30-year-old was traveling eastbound on Pergola Avenue approaching the intersection with Namsan Drive. A 2018 Kia Optima operated by a 74-year-old male was traveling westbound on Pergola just west of the intersection.
For an unknown reason, the Fusion crossed over the double yellow center line and left the roadway to the left, according to the statement. The Ford struck a tree, overturned and came to final rest on its roof with the vehicle on fire.
The Optima was unable to avoid the Fusion and struck it while it was on its roof.
The driver of the Optima was uninjured, according to reports.
Anyone who might have witnessed the crash should call the Monroe Township Police Traffic Safety Division at 732-521-0222, ext. 126.
This accident is still under investigation and witnesses are being interviewed. At this time there is reason to believe the driver of the vehicle which overturned was impaired due to alcohol and/or drugs and this accident is being investigated as a DWI crash, Lt. Sergeis Jangols said in an update on Dec. 1.
No further information is available at this time.
A video of the crash is viewable at www.facebook.com/watch/?v=686090545605568