Tim Ignasiak was making his 5:30 a.m. drive to work Thursday when he noticed the flashing lights of Hickory Hills police officer Terry Murphy, indicating him to pull over.
"I knew I was busted," Ignasiak said. "There was no way of getting out of it."
Sure enough, Murphy cited the Palos Hills resident for failure to wear his seatbelt and issued a $25 ticket. Ignasiak then buckled up and drove off, still angry about the violation.
But his bad day got worse when another vehicle ran a red light and smashed into his jeep.
"I pulled through the intersection and a green car came out of nowhere," Ignasiak said. "And hit me, pushed me right around, turned my car right around. The fear and everything just rushes to your head. I thought I was gone. I couldn't feel anything."
His vehicle was smashed but Ignasiak walked away without a scratch because of his seatbelt.
"It definitely saved my life," he said.
His good fortune is not surprising, given that seatbelts reduce car crash fatalities by as much as 50 percent, according to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration.
Ignasiak thought back to the officer who issued his ticket, for which he is now thankful.
"He's the guardian angel," he said of Murphy.
Ignasiak's wife even called Murphy to thank him personally. For the first time, the Ignasiaks found themselves grateful for a ticket.
Indeed, Ignasiak said it was the best $25 he has ever spent.
Murphy said he, too, was please with the outcome.
"I was very happy with the results," Murphy said.