EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP — An off-duty state trooper on his way to work Tuesday rescued a couple trapped inside a burning car on the Atlantic City Expressway.

At 7:44 a.m., Sgt. 1st Class James Mitchell, of the Casino Operations Unit, was eastbound on the expressway near milepost 6.9 when he saw a Nissan Pathfinder strike the median’s concrete barrier, Lt. Ted Schafer said.

Mitchell activated his emergency lights to stop traffic in the left lane. When he approached the car, the driver was trying to get out of his seatbelt as the car was fully engulfed in flames and filling with smoke, Schafer said.

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Mitchell led the driver to safety after rescuing him from the car. The driver alerted Mitchell his wife was still in the car, Schafer said.

His first rescue attempt was unsuccessful because the woman’s feet were caught under the dashboard, Schafer said. Then, Mitchell grabbed the woman underneath her arms and dragged her out the window.

There were no reported injuries to the driver. The woman was taken to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, Mainland Campus in Galloway Township, to be treated for injuries not considered life-threatening. She was last listed in stable condition, Schafer said.

Troopers did not release the couple’s names.

The crash closed two eastbound lanes which have since reopened, according to traffic site NJ511.org.

The cause of the crash was under investigation.

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Meteorologist

This is my first newspaper but not my first forecast for NJ. I graduated with a B.S. in Meteorology from Rutgers. Two TV internships gave me a taste for the newsroom. Then, after nearly 4 years in private NJ weather, I'm forecasting South Jersey for you.

Waldy Diez joined the Press of Atlantic City's breaking news team in July 2017. She's a graduate of Syracuse and Rowan Universities. Previously, she was a morning tv news producer.

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