Bodycam video shows New Jersey officers, good Samaritans rescue driver who plunged off pier

"I feel like we did our job. We did what we said we would do, what we swore we would do," said Detective Sergeant Carlos Depoder.

ByBob Brooks via WPVI logo
Thursday, May 5, 2022
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Body camera footage obtained by Action News shows the intense moments as three officers and good Samaritans try to save a driver who plunged off a fishing pier last month.

GLOUCESTER CITY, New Jersey -- Three Gloucester City police officers and three good Samaritans are being hailed as heroes for saving a submerged driver in the Delaware River last month.

Body camera footage obtained by Action News shows the chaotic April 28 rescue after a female driver plunged off Freedom Pier.

Officer Sean Gartland, Officer John Bryszewski and Detective Sergeant Carlos Depoder immediately jumped into action to save the woman.

Gartland was the first one in.

"By the time I get in, I start opening doors and start checking, trying to find her," recalled Gartland.

Gloucester City officers John Bryszewski, Carlos Depoder and Sean Gartland jumped in to save a driver who plunged off Freedom Pier back on April 28, 2022.

Next, Bryszewski and Depoder made the 10-foot drop into the water and start searching as well.

"When I get in, I go to the front passenger door. I check there first. Then I check the back door. She was located up in the dash area," said Depoder.

The officers then pulled the woman up onto a log and start performing CPR in the water.

SEE ALSO: Woman pulled from Delaware River after car plunges off pier

"It was too high for us to elevate her out of the water and onto land. So, I believe it was Officer Gartland, if I remember correctly, said, 'Let's use the log,'" recalled Bryszewski.

"They held her body up onto the log, using the log, and I just did chest compressions," said Depoder.

But there was no way to get her out.

"There was no way we could have got her up without some kind of intervention," said Gartland.

They got one in the form of three good Samaritans on a boat.

Gene Blemings of Deptford and his two co-workers were out on a barge working.

Gene Blemings speaks to Action News about rescuing a woman who drove off a Gloucester City fishing pier back on April 28, 2022.

"One of the guys saw the car go overboard and said, 'Let's go.' We hopped in the boat," said Blemings.

Once there, Blemings told the officers they were there to help in any way.

"I went in halfway and helped get her in the boat," said Blemings.

One of his co-workers is a volunteer firefighter and took over CPR until they were able to get the woman onto a nearby dock.

The officers say Blemings and his co-workers were a godsend.

"I hopped on the boat with them. I was burnt from being in the water and holding her up," said Bryszewski.

"Everyone was at the right place at the right time," said Gartland.

As you would expect, no one involved in the rescue thinks they did anything out of the ordinary.

"I'm just happy that she's alive. Hopefully everything turns out good for her, that's all that matters to me," said Blemings.

"I feel like we did our job. We did what we said we would do, what we swore we would do," said Depoder.

The department says the woman is in critical condition but is slowly recovering.

Police say it's still unclear what caused her to drive off the fishing pier.