Tpr. I Jaime Ablett
On April 5, 2013, Tpr. I Jaime Ablett observed that a motor vehicle accident had just occurred and the vehicle involved had come to rest overturned and submerged in a retention pond in front of the Home Depot. At that time, only a small portion of the rear tires were visible above the surface of the water.
Tpr. I Ablett advised dispatch to notify EMS and Absecon PD. Tpr. I Ablett learned that one occupant had escaped although other occupants were still trapped inside of the submerged vehicle. He observed the already freed occupant, who appeared to be in an extreme state of panic, and a good Samaritan, later identified as Louis Roselli, enter the water to assist those occupants still inside.
Tpr. I Ablett, realizing the extraordinary importance of immediate action, entered the muddy water of the retention pond wearing his full uniform, including his duty belt, issued weapon, and equipment. Also in his possession as he entered the water were personal items such as his cellular telephone and personal vehicle key fob. As he approached the submerged vehicle, which was located in water 4 to 5 feet deep, the good Samaritan and the occupant who was already out, pulled one of the trapped occupants out of the vehicle. Tpr. I Ablett lifted the lifeless subject and carried him through the muddy water to the edge of the pond. As he reached the grass at the pond’s edge EMS units were arriving and began treatment on the unconscious subject.
At that time Absecon City Police Officers, D. Krause #852 and L. Winkel #856, arrived at the scene. They also immediately entered the water and began assisting occupants still in the submerged vehicle. Tpr. I Ablett assisted Officer Winkel with freeing another occupant. Although this occupant was alert when extricated, he was unable to stand or walk on his own. Tpr. I Ablett and Officer Winkel assisted this subject to the edge of the pond and waiting EMS. It should be noted that both of the occupants that had been freed to that point were observed to be U.S. Military, wearing armed forces type camouflage uniforms.
Tpr. I Ablett was then advised that there was one remaining occupant in the vehicle. The occupant who had freed himself and was assisting with the rescues began yelling that there was one more subject still trapped inside of the vehicle. As his state of panic heightened he relayed that the remaining occupant was a female who has a small child at home. The good smaritan (Louis Roselli) advised that he could feel the female moving inside of the vehicle, although she was still wearing her seatbelt. The seatbelt, which rescuers could not unbuckle or free her from, held her entrapped inside of the vehicle and under the water. Officer D. Krause and Roselli were able to reach inside of the vehicle and cut through the seatbelt with a knife. The last occupant was free from the overturned and submerged vehicle. Tpr. I Ablett, along with other rescuers, carried the subject to the waiting EMS units. She was reportedly unresponsive and apparently suffering from hypothermia, as her skin was turning blue.
Due to the heroic and selfless actions taken by Tpr. I Jaime Ablett, Officer Daniel Krause, Officer Laura Winkel, and the good Samaritan Louis Roselli, the three entrapped occupants of the vehicle were all successfully extricated and consequently treated for non life threatening injuries. Without the immediate and decisive response by these rescuers, the outcome of this motor vehicle accident would have been tragic.