CORONA, Queens (WABC) -- A 22-year-old woman is fighting for her life in the hospital after she came to help a drunk friend pulled over on the Whitestone Expressway.
While on the side of the road, the two women, along with an EMT were struck by an off-duty police lieutenant who lost control of his car, causing a tragic chain-reaction crash that remains under investigation.
The accident occurred around 5 a.m. Saturday. According to police, 22-year-old Samantha Maloney of Lindenhurst was behind the wheel of a 2014 Nissan driving drunk when she hit a divider and pulled over on the side of a road. Maloney then called a friend, another 22-year-old woman who met her there. While the pair were on the shoulder, off-duty EMT Christopher Pierce also stopped to help.
Moments later, sources confirm an off-duty police lieutenant somehow lost control of his vehicle, and slammed into the group of cars. The impact of the collision sent the 22-year-old friend over the side of the elevated roadway. The woman fell more than 20 feet to the street below, and was quickly rushed to New York Presbyterian Queens in critical condition. Meanwhile, the off-duty lieutenant suffered an arm-injury while Maloney was arrested and charged with DWI.
The EMT who also suffered a broken spoke exclusively with Eyewitness News at the hospital.
"We often times put our lives in danger to go out and help somebody else, and there's always that instinct that when you want to help you act - no matter what the circumstances are," said Pierce.
Pierce also admits that this isn't the first time he has pulled over to help someone, and nearly lost his own life.
"It's the second time I've done this," he said.
According to police officials, the off-duty lieutenant was administered a breathalyzer test, and was no drunk.
No criminal charges have been filed against the lieutenant.
Woman knocked off overpass after NYPD lieutenant slams into cars on Whitestone in chain reaction crash