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Off-Duty Ossining Police Officer Rescues Woman, 75, From Car Trapped In Ravine

OSSINING, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- A Westchester County woman has extra reason to give thanks this holiday season.

As CBS2's Brian Conybeare reported, the 75-year-old was rescued by an off-duty police officer after her car plunged off a highway and down into a ravine.

The woman's car somehow flew off the road, flipped over and got stuck more than 10 feet down an embankment in the watery ravine. The woman was left trapped inside.

"It was pretty incredible to see a car on its side like that," said Ossining police Officer Ryan Tompkins. "There was a little smoke coming out; glass everywhere. It was completely mangled."

Tompkins was off duty Wednesday, just coming home from getting a haircut, when he saw the scene on Route 9A and knew he had to do something.

"So I jumped down. I go to the driver's side door -- kind of like pry it open," he said.

Inside the vehicle was Carole Klein, who was on her way to a holiday celebration. Twenty-four hours later, her gift-wrapped presents were scattered into the creek below where the car landed.

Tompkins managed to pull Klein to safety before firefighters and ambulances arrived.

"She had a couple bruises. She was bleeding a little bit," Tompkins said, "but other than that, it was a miracle she was OK."

"She's fortunate that a person like Ryan would come by and stop and lend a hand in a time of need," said Ossining police Chief Kevin Sylvester,

Sylvester said Tompkins' nickname in the department is Captain America. But the humble officer does not want anyone calling him a hero.

"Anyone on my job -- if they were in the same position, they would do the same thing," Tompkins said. "I was just in the right place at the right time."

Despite losing a few gifts in the ordeal, Klein can thank the officers' quick action for not losing her life. She was taken to Westchester County Medical Center, but CBS2 is told she has since been released and is doing just fine.

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