(CBS News) - It was a heartwarming moment in a Long Island hospital room when an 8-year-old boy met face-to-face with the stranger who saved his life.
CBS New York reports Isaiah Ronmel Martinez was badly hurt in a horrifying crash last week.
"The kid has redefined what bravery is to me," his rescuer, 36-year-old Kevin Stewart, told CBS New York. "And for that I am eternally thankful to him."
Stewart was driving home shortly after midnight on July 26 when he came upon a wreck on the Sagtikos State Parkway in North Bay Shore. Martinez and his father, Carlos, had been ejected from a minivan after police say Carlos lost control and slammed into a median.
Carlos died at the scene and Isaiah was left trapped and bleeding under the vehicle, which flipped on top of him.
Stewart says it was a life or death situation.
"I think that if we didn't act quickly, I don't think Isaiah would have made it," he said.
The husband, a father of two and an NYPD detective, knew he had to act fast to extricate Isaiah from under the 4,000-pound minivan.
"I noticed that the child wasn't moving, he wasn't talking," Stewart said.
He said he and another Good Samaritan managed to get a jack out of their car and physically lift the mangled vehicle off of Isaiah. The little boy sustained a pelvic fracture and head injuries.
"He looked at me and said, 'I don't want to die.' I just said, 'No, you're not going to die, not today. We are here, we're going to help,'" Stewart said.
Isaiah was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital in West Islip. His mother says he is progressing and will recover from his injuries.
"Thank you so much for everything you did," Isaiah's mother, Maria, said.
Stewart said his experience in the NYPD played an important role in allowing him to think quickly and help save the boy.