• Lynda Cohen

Ocean City teen identified as driver injured in fiery crash

An Ocean City High School senior has been identified as the driver in a fiery crash on the Atlantic City Expressway this weekend. James Ryba, 18, was badly injured in the crash while heading east on the Atlantic City Expressway just after noon Saturday. His condition was not available Monday. But BreakingAC has learned he underwent surgery over the weekend. The crash remains under investigation, State Police Lt. Ted Schafer said. He added that they are only notified about condition if the crash is fatal. State Police arrived on the scene to find two people inside the burning vehicle. But one was EMT Jason Frederick who happened to be heading the other way in an Exceptional Medical Transportation ambulance when he and his partner saw the SUV on its roof and burning. The former Lindenwold firefighter got in through the back door, and was able to untangle the unconscious Ryba from his restraints. EMT Nicole Gardner Kratz and other good Samaritans who had stopped to help then got him out through the back and the medical team took over.

‘No hesitation’ as people rushed to rescue a man from burning vehicle


Don Morgan was driving east on the Atlantic City Expressway when he saw what appeared to be an SUV on its roof and engulfed in flames.

As he got out of his car, there already were three people surrounding the vehicle.

Inside, was an EMT working to save the trapped man, Morgan said.

EMT Jason Frederick usually works out of Exceptional Medical Transportation’s Berlin office.

But he and partner, EMT Nicole Gardner Kratz, were heading back from testing in Atlantic City when they saw a vehicle on its roof on the other side of the expressway.

That’s when they went into action.

Kratz tried to use their extinguisher on the flames, but “it was just too much,” Frederick said.

The front door was jammed shut so Frederick — a former Lindenwold firefighter — climbed in the back door and got to work untangling the unconscious driver.

The seat belt had broken off the door frame and the man’s feet were under the dashboard.

“It wasn’t fun, I’ll tell you that,” Frederick said of the heat inside.

But he was able to get the man out and to Kratz and others who had stopped to help.

“He took full control of the situation,” Morgan said. “(Frederick) was yelling out instructions to all of us that were there, making sure everything was done to get this guy out and get him out safely.”

Once out, the EMTs worked on the driver as Morgan made sure no passing vehicles came into the area.

“If that guy survives, he’s got that EMT to thank,” Morgan said. Read more

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