New Jersey State Police body cam video exclusively obtained by NBC New York shows a trooper in late August in the middle of the Garden State Parkway, coming to the rescue of an 8-year-old boy who had chased his two dogs into the middle of the busy highway.
“I saw them off of my peripheral vision, I literally put my lights on and I start doing what you see troopers doing in the road, slowing down traffic,” said State Trooper Jamarr Morris.
The body cam footage shows Morris stop as soon as he could, even with some cars still barreling down the highway. Morris was fearful of what could happen to the boy and his dogs, so while on the soutbound side of the parkway just before the exit to the PNC Arts Center, he jumped into his car and backed up as fast as he safely could.
Meanwhile, educator Stephanie Woit had already stopped along with other drivers, to help block traffic on the road, with several jumping out to try to help the boy corral his dogs.
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“The little boy looked a little bit in shock, I remember I was close enough to him and I was helping him to see that his lip was quivering, I think he was frightened,” said Woit.
Morris faced a barking dog while the boy had his other canine on a leash, struggling for control in the middle of a highway. Morris, who has dogs of his own, said he was willing to take the risk of getting bitten over the chance the dog would run into the express lanes.
“My first choice was to get bit, and if it happens, it happens,” he said.
The trooper finally was able to grab the pet and escort the boy and dogs to his patrol car. That’s when Woit started shouting: “You’re a hero.” But Morris said he doesn’t think of it that way, saying that the motorists such as Stephanie were the true heroes, doing the right thing when they slowed, then stopped all the traffic behind them
Woit’s pictures of the rescue went viral on a state police social media site. And as for the boy, she cast no blame.
“His puppies matter to him, his dogs matter to him and in his eyes he was doing a heroic thing too,” she said.
Morris took the boy home to his worried parents, who had no idea a walk in the woods ended up in the middle of a busy highway. Woit said that just for a moment, people from all walks of life came together, putting divisiveness aside, to avert a near tragedy.