Army recruiter rescues family seconds before semi-truck smashes their car

A fun-filled night enjoying a concert quickly turned surreal Monday for an Army recruiter and his wife while traveling home on Pennsylvania’s Hwy 80.

Staff Sgt. Estevan Azocar and his wife were traveling eastbound when the car in front of them hit a deer. The driver was able to limp the damaged car to the narrow shoulder, but within moments, the car began filling with smoke.

Azocar joked with his friends in the past that if the time came to help someone ever presented itself, he’d respond — the time was now — and he did exactly what he told his friends he would do … he jumped into action.

The staff sergeant pulled off to the shoulder and ran over to rescue the New Jersey couple trapped in the car.

“It got to be a real movie scenario where you see them like struggling. They couldn’t breathe,” Azocar tells ABC 16 News. “The vehicle wouldn’t open, and I did everything I could to try to find something to bust the window.”

The recruiter tells ABC the couple was in a rental car, and they were having trouble figuring out how to unlock the car so they could escape.

With his adrenaline pumping, Azocar used a crowbar to break the window. He unlocked the door and pulled the couple to safety, according to ABC.

“You feel like they were just as light as a feather,” Azocar tells ABC.

Moments later … just as everyone started basking safely in the fresh air off the highway; a tractor-trailer came along and slammed into the couple’s rental car.

Azocar and the husband and wife all got out of the way just in time.

“I don’t know how I got from point A to point B. I was standing in the road and I ended up jumping past the median. I busted up my foot pretty bad,” Azocar tells ABC.

Azocar tells ABC he was determined to save the trapped couple.

“I didn’t care if I had to bust it open with my hand. I just wanted to get them out of there,” Azocar tells ABC.

According to Azocar, the couple from New Jersey was not badly hurt.

ABC reports state police call the tractor-trailer’s involvement a hit and run and that police were able to find the 18-wheeler’s driver.

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  • Jim Verchio is a staff writer for Popular Military. As a retired Air Force Public Affairs craftsman, Jim has served at all levels. From staff writer to Editor-In-Chief, he has more than 30 years experience covering military topics in print and broadcast from the CONUS to Afghanistan. He is also a two time recipient of the DoD’s prestigious Thomas Jefferson Award for journalism excellence.

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