Locked posts on DuPage Co. bike trail create problems for first responders

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Connor Sullivan, of Wheaton, was biking with his family when he hd a medical emergency. (WLS)

A Wheaton family had some scary moments on a DuPage County bike trail earlier this month when their son had a medical emergency and first responders couldn't get to them.

It was Father's Day, when Connor Sullivan and his family were on the Great Western Trail, just off Bloomingdale Road.

"I just got off my bike and I didn't feel good," said Connor.

A passerby called 911, but the ambulance couldn't get to them because the locked posts - which are also called bollards - were locked and blocked the path from the vehicle passing.

Now, there are questions about who had the keys and why were the posts locked.

"Connor appeared to not breathe, shortly thereafter, so I gave him a couple of rescue breaths," said his mother Carolyn Sullivan, who is also a nurse.

Glen Ellyn paramedics were on the way, but the posts were locked, blocking the bike path. The Sullivans were more than a quarter-mile down the trail.

"I was dumbfounded that first responders didn't have access to this trail," Sullivan said.

The DuPage Department of Transportation is responsible for the posts, and its policy is to keep them locked for safety reasons.

The Glen Ellyn paramedics who responded had a key, but it was mislabeled. The department said it has addressed the problem.

Connor believes he was just dehydrated, but he has had respiratory problems in the past.

The DuPage County Sheriff's Office is making sure all deputies have keys, and the Glen Ellyn volunteer fire company is doing the same thing for all its firefighters and paramedics.

Connor's mother doesn't want to blame anyone, but wanted to make sure this didn't happen again.

The agencies involved said they working to ensure that it doesn't.

Connor's mother also is thankful for the passerby - Chip Miller, a retired firefighter -- who called 911.

"I think we were just blessed by an angel. Chip was our angel that day and his kids," Sullivan said.

Miller was with his two children when he spotted Connor.

"Very quickly it went downhill, so I called 911," Miller said.

On Wednesday, Miller had a chance to see Connor.

"You look good, you got all your color back," he told the boy.

And the 13-year-old is back riding his bike, thanks to the strangers' help.

"I thought it was good that they stopped," Connor said. "Because they really helped."
Related Topics:
healthbike lanesmedical emergencyGlen EllynDuPage County
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