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Highway Angels

Trooper, trucker lauded as heroes
A New Jersey state trooper and a UPS deliveryman from Monmouth County have been honored by the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission for saving a truck driver from his burning cab after a collision on the New Jersey Turnpike.

BY : TOM LOUNSBERRY
GANNETT NEW JERSEY



Monday, July 11, 2005

A New Jersey state trooper and a UPS deliveryman from Monmouth County have been honored by the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission for saving a truck driver from his burning cab after a collision on the New Jersey Turnpike.

They were among 20 people nationwide named as heroes by the commission for heroic acts in 2004.

Trooper Alexander Tezsla, 34, of Burlington County, and Robert C. Meyer, 45, of Union Beach, were honored for rescuing Robert E. Erickson Jr. of Pine Bush, N.Y., after his tractor-trailer crashed in East Brunswick on July 8, 2004.

Erickson's rig, carrying a load of clothing, crashed into the rear of a dump truck loaded with gravel. The dump truck had just had a flat tire and was slowing to pull onto the shoulder of the road.

Tezsla was on routine patrol on the turnpike when the accident happened. He says he is not a hero, was "just doing my job" and happened to be "just in the right spot at the right time."

"I was only about 15 or 20 seconds behind the accident. I tried to open both doors of the cab, but they were jammed. I started back to my patrol car and the cab started to fill with smoke," Tezsla said. "I used my service revolver to smash open the driver's side window and I managed to get his head out the window. If I hadn't he surely would have died from smoke inhalation because even though his head was only about a foot inside the cab, I couldn't see it because of all the smoke."

Tezsla said that is when Robert Meyer appeared from nowhere.

"He had a fire extinguisher with him from his truck. Erickson's weight and the force of us pulling on the door sprung it enough so that Meyer was able to get the nose of the extinguisher into the cab, which knocked the fire down. We were eventually able to spring the door open and pull him out before the fire engulfed the cab and eventually the trailer," he said.

Erickson suffered second- and third-degree burns to both his legs, smoke inhalation and a head injury in the crash. He is still recovering at home.
From President's Desk

Message from the President- February 2011
I recently had the privilege of representing the NJMTA at a reception held at the Governor's residence Drumthwacket. We were invited due to the generosity of two of our members, Lacey's Express, Inc. and National Retail Systems, Inc. who responded to a request for tractor donations
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Message From President - January 2011
As I prepared to write my first article for the NJMTA membership as the acting President, my thoughts are focused on the recent tragedy that occurred in Arizona where a Congressman was seriously wounded and 6 others murdered at a political rally. I find myself asking just what is happening to our country.
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TWIC

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