Watch: Cop braves rushing Ida floodwater to save woman

Video shows the officer struggling through waist-high water to reach a stranded citizen

By Kevin Shea

EWING, N.J. — The water rushed down the Ewing street at waist height late last Wednesday as a township police officer shined his flashlight to see if anyone needed assistance. Some drivers were abandoning their vehicles during Ida flash flooding.

Officer Justin Quinlan found one, a woman, clinging to a guardrail. He waded into the waters and used the guardrail as a guide to get to her.

“Hold on dear, don’t move, OK?” he yelled as he approached the woman. She appears exhausted.

“When I turned down the street, there was no water,” she tells Quinlan moments later. “Yea, it’s coming up out of nowhere,” Quinlan responded.

The Ewing Police Department publicized a two-minute clip of the rescue Wednesday, a week after it occurred, to illustrate what fire responders were dealing with during the height of the deadly storms from Hurricane Ida that killed 27 people across New Jersey - many who drowned.

Police did not identify the woman publicly; she was not seriously injured in the incident, which started at about 10:15 p.m. on Whitehead Road near Ewingville Road, a police spokesman said.

Quinlan held onto the woman for about 20 minutes as they both sat on the guardrail, awaiting fire boats from the Ewing Fire Department, police spokesman Lt. Glenn Tettemer said.

In the video, Quinlan explains that they are going to stay put because he is unsure what is in the water, and debris could injure them. The woman says she was under advice that if she could get out of her car she should walk to safety.

[RELATED: Video: NYPD officers try to save family from flooded basement apartment after Ida]

Tettemer lauded Quinlan’s actions and decisions, as well as the Ewing Fire Department, for teaming up to make a positive outcome.

Ewing Fire Capt. Kyle Brower and Firefighter Oscar Estrada entered the water and took Quinlan and the woman to safety, he said.

The Princeton Police Department also posted body camera footage Wednesday on its Facebook page of officers working with trapped motorists during the Ida flooding last week. The department thanked officers, “who worked tirelessly during this storm, in soaking wet uniforms and boots, who possibly saved several lives that night while putting their own at risk.”

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McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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