NEW MILFORD, N.J. – A U.S. Army specialist who had just returned from Iraq was hit by a car as walked toward his grandmother's house, then dragged a half-mile by another vehicle.
"It's amazing he's still alive," New Milford Police Lt. Michael Burns said.
Andrew Rippe was crossing a road during a downpour around 6:30 a.m. Monday when he was struck by the first vehicle, which pushed him to the ground and into the path of the oncoming car, officials said.
In that second car, driver Roslyn Gottlieb said she heard a thump but figured it was just a piece of a cardboard under her car and kept driving to a convenience store for a cup of coffee.
When she pulled up at the store, Michael Obertlik noticed Rippe trapped under the car.
"My friend thought it was a dummy, but I said, 'That's a real person. The man is still breathing,"' Obertlik told The Record of Bergen County.
Rescue workers inflated air bags to take the car off Rippe, who had a broken leg and had lost skin.
The 25-year-old was in serious condition at Hackensack University Medical Center on Monday. Hospital spokeswoman Nancy Radwin said Tuesday that Rippe's family requested that no further information about his condition be released.
Police Chief Frank Papapietro on Tuesday said no charges had been filed, but his department was still investigating. "It appears just to be a horrible accident at this point," he said.