MONTGOMERY COUNTY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Chuck Zbytniewski travels the New York State Thruway each day for work at Ellis Hospital in Schenectady. On Friday, he was almost halfway there when near Canajoharie he noticed a van flipped on its side with traffic slowing down ahead of him.

His nursing instincts kicked in immediately: Someone needs help.

“So what I did was I crawled in and the driver was kind of like up here so I kinda lowered him down easily as best I could. I was on my knees but he did a flop and he was semi conscious so I aroused him a bit and woke him up a little more,” Zbytniewski says.

Zbytniewski and another Good Samaritan helped pull the man out of the van, as well as two women. Zbytniewski says his biggest concern was the possibility of the car exploding, as smoke began pouring out. When he went back to make sure the vehicle was clear after pulling the second person out, that’s when he started to hear what he describes as whimpering in the back of the van.

“There was one of those big steel dog cages imploded upon itself with three puppies in it. And I got those out first but I kept hearing more whimpering so I crawled back in and there were more puppies. And I ended up getting a total of eight puppies out with three passengers.”  

In total, 10 dogs were pulled from the van. Six of the eight puppies were surrendered to Ayres Animal Shelter in Sprakers because of their injuries. Two adult dogs and two puppies were returned to the family.

Chuck says he was just doing what he was trained to do and does not consider himself a hero, “when you are in healthcare, it is a calling. I mean, we’re going to help people whether we are in a facility working on a job on the clock or if we’re off the clock and see a car accident or the things that I just mentioned. We’re going to help people.”