Hero who rescued woman from crash into Passaic River speaks out

NUTLEY, New Jersey (WABC) -- A good Samaritan is being praised as a hero after he rescued a woman whose SUV plunged into the Passaic River in Nutley Tuesday morning.

That man, Jay Moss, spoke out to Eyewitness News reporter Darla Miles.

The black roof of a Mercury Mountaineer was all he could see after hearing screams for help. And with emergency crews were nowhere in sight, he jumped into action.

"As I was walking out, I saw a gentleman sprint past me," he said. "Screaming, 'Call the cops, call the cops, there's a car in the river."

The 30-year-old IT sales manager heard those cries as was leaving his gym, which is right on the Passaic River in Lynhurst. He and a friend hopped in their car and raced over to the Nutley side of the river, where they saw an unconscious woman behind the wheel.

"We drove around, we peeked over, saw that there was someone was in the car," he said. "I don't know if he could swim that great, so I immediately threw my clothes off, grabbed my gym shorts and hopped in."

Moss says instinct combined with water rescues he's seen on TV are two reasons why he was able to get her out so quickly.

"I put my leg up and gave it everything I got and pulled the door open, thank God," he said. "And then picked her up and then booked out of there before the car started sinking fast."

Nutley police are still investigating why the 50-year-old woman drove in the water, but they say it would have been a much different investigation without Moss.

"Officers were there quickly, but again, in that kind of condition, a minute or two means a lot, whether you can get out of the vehicle in time or not," Nutley police Chief Tom Strumolo said. "So thank God he was there, and it's a good ending to the story."
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