• Lynda Cohen

Atlantic County men among Camden officers honored as heroes in fiery crash

Updated: May 19

Two Camden County police officers hailed as heroes for rescuing four men from a fiery crash have Atlantic County ties. Body camera footage released by the Camden County Police Department shows the quick action of officers and civilians after the two-car crash on Interstate 676 at about 2:30 a.m. April 7. “It was one of the only times I’ve truly been scared since I became a cop, because I knew if we didn’t get him out, he would die,” said Officer Brian McCline, 24, who began his law enforcement career in 2014 as a Class II officer in his hometown of Atlantic City. Officer Joseph Mair, who goes by Ryan, was first on the scene, with Delaware River Port Authority Police Officer Franklin Flash arriving just behind him, Mair told BreakingAC. Mair, who goes by Ryan, is a Hammonton High School graduate and formerly worked casino security in Atlantic City. When McCline got to the scene, Mair and Officer Vince Russomanno were already working on those trapped in a Hyundai Sonata. He saw someone in the passenger seat and tried to break the window, but the man was still buckled in. Russomanno was able to come in through the driver’s seat and cut the man out, then McCline and others were able to pull the man out of the passenger window. The man was still on fire, said McCline, a Holy Spirit High School graduate. They put him down and patted him down quickly to put the fire out before getting him to an ambulance.

Camden County Officers Vaughn Edwards, Joseph “Ryan” Mair, Vincent Russomanno and Brian McCline were honored for their actions.

Four men were rescued by the men on scene, which also included Officer Vaughn Edwards and a couple of civilians. Mair said he would like to be able to name the civilians, stressing that is was a group effort. “I was surprised that there were people that stopped before we got there,” McCline said. “Usually when people see a car on fire, they just want to keep going.” The driver of the other vehicle, 23-year-old Mario Pancho-Morales of Camden, was charged with assault by auto, driving while intoxicated and other traffic violations, NJ.com reported. Meanwhile, the four Camden County officers were honored as Officers of the Week. Mair said his family and friends liked the honor, but he’s not much for the spotlight. “The quick actions taken by Officers Edwards, Mair, McCline and Russomanno ensured that all four victims survived this crash,” Lt. John Martinez said. Mair and McCline, who recently bought a home in Hammonton, both recently marked three years with Camden. After the rescue, they said they went back to work. “The city was busy that night,” McCline explained. “It’s always busy, but with the nice weather, everything’s picking up.”


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