New York police officer jumps into moving car to save toddler

A police officer in Suffolk County, New York is being hailed for his heroism this week after leaping through the open window of a moving vehicle to save a toddler's life.

According to WNBC, Suffolk County police officer Joe Goss spotted a car traveling eastbound on the Long Island Expressway at a dangerously slow 20 miles per hour near Manorville last week. He approached the slow-moving vehicle in his cruiser, and attempted to get the driver to pull over but she refused.

"I roll down my window, and the motorist rolled down her window as well," Goss told WNBC. "I told her to pull over, and with the window down she told me, 'I can't.'"

Officer Goss then noticed a toddler in the back seat of the car and, suspecting the driver of being either drunk or high, worked quickly to bring the car to a safe stop.

"When I saw the baby, I gasped and literally started doing [what he learned] to maneuver in highway patrol to slow traffic down to make it safer," Goss told the station.

Goss sped ahead and parked on the shoulder. The driver, who was later identified as Maria Lagatta of Manorville, NY, slowed down to around 5 mph and Goss jumped into the car through the open passenger window as it crept by.

"I didn't Superman into the car or anything like that," Goss said. "I'm pretty tall so I was able to lean up. All I had to do was move one of my feet up, like a pool shot move. I was able to lean in, and so once I got my hand on it, her hand was on the shifter as well, so we just forced it right into park."

Thankfully, no one was injured in the incident. Lagatta was charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs, aggravated DWI with a child passenger 15 years or younger, and endangering the welfare of a child. Lagatta's 22-month-old daughter was released by police to a relative.

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