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N.Y. teen honored for helping rescue man after fiery crash

Aiden Carter called 911 and stayed with the injured driver until first responders arrived


Photo/Senator John W. Mannion

By Anne Hayes

PHOENIX, N.Y. — A Central New York teen was honored recently for his role in helping rescue a man from a burning car after a crash in 2022.

Aiden Carter, 14, of Oswego, received the New York State Senate Liberty Award — the highest award the Senate can give a citizen — for his actions on Route 481 near Phoenix on Sept. 1, 2022, according to a news release from state Sen. John Mannion (D-Geddes).

Aiden, who was 13 at the time, and his father Joshua Carter were driving home to Fulton from Hancock Field Air National Guard Base when they saw a car swerve and crash into a bridge embankment in front of them.

The two stopped and jumped into action. Carter, a Lt. Col. in the New York Air National Guard, told his son to call 911 while he went to see if anyone was hurt.

Aiden — who had never had to call 911 before — told dispatchers what happened and how to get to their location. Aiden said that he doesn’t know how he was able to remain calm but was happy he could make sure help was on the way.

While Adien was on the phone, Carter broke a window in the car — that had already started burning — and began pulling the driver and sole occupant out of the car.

Aiden noticed the fire growing and warned his dad to move their own car out of harm’s way, he said. While his father moved the car, Aiden stayed with the driver and made sure he wasn’t too seriously injured.

As the fire grew larger and hotter, Aiden moved the man further from the blaze several times to make sure he was a safe distance away.

Finally, police and EMTs arrive to help the man. It did not appear the man was too seriously injured.

“I was relieved that the guy was going to be okay,” Aiden said, “and also kind of worried there was a giant flaming car on the way back to my house.”

On Friday, Aiden received the award from Mannion at the Fulton Public Library.

Aiden said that he wasn’t sure he deserved such a high honor but was very grateful for the recognition.

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