Off-duty Bolingbrook officer saves man's life

October 21, 2011 (BOLINGBROOK, Ill.)

While off duty, Officer Jill Regalado noticed a car drive into an embankment. The driver was suffering a heart attack.

"This is what I train for. This is what I do. Just because I was off duty doesn't make it different," she said.

Regalado was on her way to work Wednesday, driving northbound on I-355 near New Lenox when in her rear view she saw a driver lose control.

"It drastically cut across all the lanes of the highway, hit the ditch, went up the embankment and then came back face down into the ditch again," said Regalado.

Regalado pulled over and rushed to the aid of the driver, a man in his late 60s who was unconscious with the doors locked. She grabbed a wooden riot baton from her trunk but couldn't break the passenger side window of the vehicle.

"It was actually face down facing the ditch. So I was actually standing in the mud in the ditch, trying to essentially break a window that was higher than I am," she said.

Two other drivers also stopped and one of the men managed to break the window. By that point, Regalado had called 911.

911 Call
Officer Regalado: "He's turning blue.
Dispatcher: Alright. Can you get him out of the van and lay him on the ground?
Officer Regalado: Yeah, we pulled him out. We broke the windows, and we're laying him on the ground."

Regalado and one of the drivers began CPR but the victim wasn't responding.

911 Call
Man: "I think he probably had a heart attack.
Man: I think he's dying. You better get somebody here quick.
Dispatcher: Ambulance is on the way."

But soon an Illinois state trooper arrived and Regalado used his defibrillator on the victim, restarting the man's heart until an ambulance arrived.

"The other gentleman who was doing the CPR stopped, and he put his hand on the ambulance and said a prayer, so I stood there with him as they left with the ambulance," said Regalado.

The victim is now recovering at Silver Cross Hospital in Joliet where police say he was initially listed in stable condition.

"God puts you in places you need to be. And I was there along with the other gentlemen," said Regalado.

Copyright © 2023 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.