Collingswood police officers rescued a man who was trapped in a car sinking into the Cooper River early Saturday, breaking the car windows with a baton to pull him out of the submerged vehicle.
Police said they responded at 6:34 a.m. to the Cooper River at Route 130 North after a report of a car accident. When they arrived, the car was rapidly sinking into the river and a man was frantically trying to pry his way out of a partially open driver’s-side window, police said.
Officers dived into the river with a rope, a flotation vest, and an expandable baton, police said. They broke three windows but couldn’t immediately find the driver in the muddy water. When they found him, officers pulled the unidentified man out of a window, got his head above water, and secured the vehicle to the shoreline with the rope to prevent it from sinking farther.
The rescuing officers were Sgt. Ken Jacoby, Sgt. Brian DiCugno, Officer Eric Roseboro, and Officer Nick Bruns.
Jacoby and DiCugno were taken to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital for treatment of lacerations from breaking the windows, and were released without life-threatening injuries. The sole occupant of the vehicle survived without serious injury, police said.
Bishop Designate Levi Combs III witnessed the car crash and recorded the dramatic rescue on video. Combs, of First Refuge Progressive Baptist Church in Camden, said the driver sped past him before losing control near a bridge. The car hit a curb, rolled, and splashed into the river, Combs said.
“They saved a young man’s life,” Combs said of the officers. “They need to be commended and it needs to be shouted to the hills. I know that first responders, this is their job. But I mean, they really took action.”
Combs said he plans to honor the officers, perhaps with an event at his church.