Troopers Hailed As Heroes In Boy’s Rescue [VIDEO/AUDIO]
A pair of New Jersey State Troopers are being hailed as heroes after their efforts last weekend likely saved the life of a choking 13-year-old special needs boy.
The boy, Julian Estrada, who is wheelchair-bound, was riding with his family on Route 129 in Trenton near Lalor Street Sunday afternoon when food he was eating lodged in his throat, obstructing his ability to breathe.
Julian's father, 38-year-old Filadelfo Estrada, pulled on to the shoulder of the highway and the family frantically tried to summon help from passing motorists. Two New Jersey State Troopers, James Hearne and Ruben Benavidez, had just finished another traffic stop came along on 129 and saw the Estrada family out of their vehicle, frantically waiving for help.
Trooper Hearne got hold of Julian and performed the Heimlich maneuver on him, dislodging the bit of food that kept him from breathing. His partner was busy translating for the distressed family, calming them down and keeping them from wandering into oncoming traffic.
The maneuver was successful, and Julian, who suffers from seizures, began to breathe normally.
Troopers Hearne and Benavidez were reunited with the Estrada family at the Hamilton State Police Barracks Wednesday afternoon, where the family thanked them both again.
Hearne tells Townsquare he became a State Trooper to help people and this definitely was the one situation where he happened to be in the right place at the right time. His partner, Trooper Benavidez, is a rookie who graduated from the State Police Academy on October 4th. Benavidez, only on the job two weeks, says all of that training and intense instruction paid off for him.
As is typical in situations like this, neither Hearne nor Benavidez consider themselves, "heroes." Hearne says they were just doing their job, the way they were trained, and good luck and good fortune for the Estrada family and Julian Estrada placed them at the scene at the right moment in time.
It's the second time in a week a New Jersey State Trooper was heroic. Trooper Michael Butler jumped into a car weaving on Interstate 80 because the driver had become disoriented due to a medical incident while behind the wheel.