MONROE COUNTY – State police in Monroe County took the time to honor some ordinary people who went above and beyond to help a trooper in trouble.
A state police officer who needed backup to help arrest a man who was attacking others had three passersby come to his rescue. Those men are being recognized for their quick action.
Joe Corea, Anthony Hicks and Thomas Spatero were all driving through a stretch of road off Route 209 near East Stroudsburg last August.
“I was just driving down the road, had the day off and saw there was a car on the side of the road. Something didn’t seem right,” said Joe Corea of East Stroudsburg.
Joshua Widmer of East Stroudsburg had allegedly been physically attacking people in the area. Trooper Derek Felsman was on the call, but began running into trouble.
“My Taser did not work, my pepper spray did not work which caused me to go and utilize my baton,” said Trooper Felsman.
The men spotted the trouble and pulled over. Thomas Spatero was on his way to church in Scranton, but his 20 years of New York State court officer experience took over.
“This was very different. I saw the trooper being aggressively pursued by an attacker and I knew something was very wrong with that picture and just, my instinct kicked in,” said Spatero of Porter Township.
The men collectively helped Trooper Felsman take down Widmer, who was on drugs and bleeding badly.
Troopers say the men put their lives in serious danger and honored them with the prestigious Meritorious Citizenship Award.
State police say if it weren’t for these three men stopping what they were doing while they were traveling through the area of Monroe County, they don’t know what may have happened.
Trooper Felsman says without these men he may have needed to use his gun.
“I was very lucky that they were there to assist me that day,” said Trooper Felsman.
The men say they just did what they thought was right.
“No, no, no, it’s no big deal,” said Corea.
But many are calling their actions along this stretch of road in Monroe County heroic and brave.
These men say they would stop and help Trooper Felsmen again if they had to do it all over. Widmer is currently locked up, serving time in state prison.