CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) – A Camden County police officer who helped save the life of four men during a fiery crash last week was badly injured in a car accident Thursday night. Officer Joseph Mair remains in critical but stable condition.
Witnesses tried to help Mair but it was ultimately a fellow officer who rushed him to Cooper University Hospital.
It’s a rare twist of fate for the three-year veteran who just received recognition for saving multiple people’s lives in a car crash last week.
Mair was hailed as a hero after body cam footage captured him helping rescue four people from a burning vehicle on Highway 676.
Just one week later, Mair is now fighting for his life.
“Officer Mair actually went under the vehicle,” Camden Police Chief Scott Thomson said. “The wheels went over top Officer Mair.”
The 28-year-old was responding to a car accident on Thurman Street, near Mount Ephraim Avenue in the Camden’s Whitman Park neighborhood when a taxi cab driver who was driving erratically struck him.
“I was scared because when I saw him on the floor like crooked like that I said, ‘oh Jesus,'” Zoreida Quienos, a witness, said.
“We went up to him and tried to ask him if he was OK,” Aide Figueroa, another witness, said. “By that time another officer grabbed and took him.”
Figueroa, a registered nurse and Quienos, her mom, live on Thurman Street.
They were home around 10:45 p.m. on Thursday when they witnessed the crash.
“Taxi cab just coming down crazy hitting into the officer’s car,” Figueroa said, “and then dragged the officer along with him and took off along the sidewalk banging into everything.”
Investigators say the driver continued down Thurman Street, leaving tire marks in the grassy lot he drove through at Newport Street before striking a wall.
Camden County Police confirm the 60-year-old Cinnaminson man behind the wheel is a taxi driver with the Camden-based Five Star Cab Services.
Neighbors say the cab driver stayed on scene.
“He was alert. He got out,” Figueroa said. “He came up to the officers.”
The police force and community now wish Mair a speedy recovery.
“He wants to get back to work as quick as possible,” Thomson said, “but our message to him and his family was just focus on getting better.”