On Friday morning, police officers Paul Samoyedny and Rocco Fusco of Yonkers, New York, were at a bagel shop getting breakfast.
As they waited, they heard the unmistakable sound of a car accident and quickly ran out of the shop to locate the source of the noise. A nearby barbershop had been plowed into by a Hyundai Elantra — but that wasn’t the worst of it.
“We realized the car couldn’t be moved, so we had to get the car off the baby,” Samoyedny said, according to Inside Edition.
Fusco and some bystanders pulled together to lift the 2,600-pound vehicle so that Samoyedny could get the 8-month-old baby girl out from under the vehicle — but the moments that led up to her rescue were tense.
“I was just hoping the baby was alive and … whole,” Samoyedny told Fox News.
Miraculously, the baby was alive, though she was drenched in motor oil and sustained a fractured skull and third-degree burns. Samoyedny said he located the father and handed off the baby while first responders assessed the 36-year-old mother, whose femur had been broken. The owner of the barbershop was also injured.
“The effort that he put into lifting up that car, unbelievable,” Samoyedny said. “Really proud of Rocco.”
“People in the community came rushing in, everybody helped, man, it was … it was pretty amazing,” Fusco said.
Surveillance video recorded the whole heartwrenching accident, showing the driver of the Hyundai turning, hitting the curb, hitting parked cars and then running into the mother carrying her baby and plowing them through the front of a barbershop.
After the accident, the driver — later identified as 43-year-old David Poncurak — appeared unharmed and was up and moving around.
“The driver was … he was in the store,” Samoyedny said. “He actually went over to make sure that the woman was okay, I guess he wanted to check out the extent of the damage.”
Police discovered an open container of alcohol in the vehicle and found that Poncurak’s license had been suspended. According to CNN, the police report said they also noticed “the odor of an alcoholic beverage on his breath, glassy eyes, and impaired speech.”
“The operator of the vehicle has been arrested and charged with Driving While Intoxicated among other charges,” the caption on the police department’s YouTube video of the incident states.
According to the officers, though both mother and baby were seriously injured, they’re receiving medical care and expected to make a recovery. The baby has had surgeries and skin grafts, but it could have been much worse — a fact that they’re both very aware of.
“Anything with a child, it definitely hits you a little harder emotionally, especially after the fact,” Samoyedny, who is a father of four, said. “It’s kind of like a deep breath after.”
“We’re not special,” Fusco added. “Any member of our department would have done the same thing, as well as millions of other police officers across the whole country.”
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