With masks on, there were quick hugs all around as they recalled the life-or-death situation that ended in "life" for Peter Visconti back on October 6.
He was driving on I-80 in Saddle Brook when he blacked out.
"I had a cardiac episode," he said. "I don't remember all these wonderful people saving my life."
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Visconti had slammed into Nicole Lavalle's car, and Hackensack Deputy Fire Chief John Taylor happened to be passing by the accident and stopped to help.
Cell phone video shows the two of them bent over the unresponsive Visconti, with Lavalle blowing life-saving air into his lungs.
"It was like fight or flight sort of thing," she said. "You don't think about anything but helping this human being."
Taylor performed CPR after he had pried the victim out of the crashed truck.
"He was blue, and I knew he was in trouble," he said. "I couldn't get the door unlocked, and I noticed a small back window, which I broke, and I climbed through."
State Troopers Kyle Gorman and Pierre Haddad arrived with the equipment to keep Visconti alive until paramedics got there, helping to save one of their own.
Gorman administered a defibrillator, and after several rounds of CPR, Visconti regained a pulse but was still gasping for air and struggling to breathe.
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Haddad, who is also an EMT, then used an oropharyngeal airway, which is a medical device used to open or maintain a patient's airway, to assist in supplying oxygen.
Visconti spent 27 years in service out of the Totowa barracks, where both troopers are now.
"It's a phenomenal feeling, especially when everything works out well," Haddad said.
Visconti was in an induced-coma for four days and was hospitalized for 10.
"I would have never made it to the hospital if not for the four people behind me," Visconti said.
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