Three Illinois teens were hailed as heroes after they saved a 1-year-old who fell out of a moving car in West Dundee late October this year.
Police Chief Andrew Wieteska presented Jonathan Padilla, 17, of Carpentersville, and Matthew Gillespie, 17, and Anthony Arroyo, 18, of Sleepy Hollow with the West Dundee’s Lamplighter Special Commendation Award for their heroism at West Dundee City Hall, according to the Daily Herald.
The trio was turning onto Route 72 from Route 31 when the door of the car in front of them opened, and a baby tumbled out onto the road.
After overcoming their initial shock, the teens abruptly stopped the car and got out to protect the baby. One of the teens called 911 and directed emergency services to their location. The audio file of the teen’s call was presented at the West Dundee village board meeting on Nov. 20 where they received their awards.
Wieteska said the teens responded quickly and remained calm throughout the whole saga. He praised the teens and suggested that their selfless actions had saved the child.
“This night could have ended tragically if they had not taken the time to stop their car and protect this helpless baby from additional injuries or death,” he told the Daily Herald. “They went above and beyond what is expected of a citizen.”
The police chief said the baby was injured and bleeding from the fall but was treated by police and paramedics a short while later, and taken to Advocate Sherman Hospital in Elgin. He added that the baby was safe and doing well.
After realizing what happened, the driver and passengers from the other car returned to the scene, grabbed the baby from the ground and drove off, according to the Daily Herald citing village documents.
The driver, who was also the baby’s mother, was charged with failure to secure a child in a safety seat, consumption of alcohol by a minor and a zero-tolerance DUI, the police chief said. The Department of Children and Family Services is now also involved.
Village President Chris Nelson also complimented the teens for their bravery and quick reactions.
“You put yourselves at risk, not only to grab the baby but also to follow the car and to make sure the child was ultimately receiving care,” Nelson said to the teens, reported the newspaper.
“It was a very special thing that you did,” he added.
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