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New Jersey man, 62, dies after his SUV caught fire in snowbank

New Jersey man, 62, burns to death after his SUV caught fire when he repeatedly revved the engine to dislodge it from a snowbank despite cops’ attempts to stop him

  • Victim’s Mazda CX-5 had gone down embankment and became stuck in snow in Little Ferry, New Jersey, on Wednesday 
  • Police say the 62-year-old man repeatedly revved engine to try to get out of the snowbank
  • Police officers tried to make the driver stop, but he ignored them 
  • While officers were calling tow truck, Mazda became engulfed in flames and they were unable to rescue driver, who was burned beyond recognition  

A 62-year-old driver was killed when his SUV burst into flames after he repeatedly revved the engine in an effort to get out of a snowbank in New Jersey.

Police in Little Ferry say a public works employee called shortly after 9am on Wednesday to report a car had gone down a slight embankment and became lodged in the snow.

Captain Ronald Klein said arriving officers found the driver of the Mazda CX-5 repeatedly revving the engine and rocking the small SUV back and forth to try to get out of the snow near the soccer field off Mehrhof Road.

A 62-year-old man burned to death inside his Mazda CX-2 in Little Ferry, New Jersey, on Wednesday after revving his engine in an attempt to get out of a snowbank 

The SUV became engulfed in flames as the driver was trying to get out of the snow near a soccer field

The SUV became engulfed in flames as the driver was trying to get out of the snow near a soccer field 

Officer Joseph Convery, who also serves as a firefighter, and his partner started banging on the SUV’s window to get the driver’s attention and get him to stop revving the engine.  

According to police, the driver ‘totally ignored’ the officers as they yelled at him, banged on the window and tried to get into the SUV.  

‘He wouldn’t let off the gas,’ Police Chief James Walters told Daily Voice.

Officers went back to their vehicle to call for a tow truck, but then heard a popping noise and spotted flames coming from under the vehicle. 

The flames spread and the officers desperately tried to get into the car and finally broke a rear passenger window, but within seconds the vehicle became engulfed in flames and they were unable to reach the man.

Firefighters who responded to the scene put out the flames, but by then the driver had been burned beyond recognition.  

Police officers on the scene were banging on the SUV's window to get the driver to stop revving the engine before flames ignited and consumed the vehicle

Police officers on the scene were banging on the SUV’s window to get the driver to stop revving the engine before flames ignited and consumed the vehicle 

The victim was burned beyond recognition and could not be saved, despite officers' efforts

The victim was burned beyond recognition and could not be saved, despite officers’ efforts

‘Imagine having to see that,’ Walters said. ‘It was horrible.’

Police have notified the driver’s family, but they are relying on dental records to officially identify him. 

The Little Ferry police and the Bergen County prosecutor’s office are investigating.

‘It’s odd why it caught fire the way it did,’ Chief Walters said of the SUV. ‘We don’t know right now whether it’s suspicious or not. But it happened so fast. That’s strange.’   

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