Freeport, Illinois — It’s a fear we all have in the back of our minds anytime we sit behind the wheel of a car, and one that an unsuspecting Freeport man found himself right in the middle of after an accident happened directly in front of him on Highway 26 on Tuesday.
We received reports that a 17 year old driver, whose name is being withheld, was driving home to Durand, Illinois from Highland Community College in Freeport when his vehicle appears to have struck the back end of a Moring Disposal semi, traveling at what is said to have been about 55 mph.
According to one person on the scene, the young driver of the vehicle was traveling on Hwy. 26 when a Moring Disposal semi appeared to have pulled onto the highway from Van Buren road. The driver’s vehicle hit the semi and is said to have flown over a ditch, ultimately landing in a corn field next to the road.
Mike McLain of Freeport was traveling on the highway just seconds away when he noticed the accident ahead. McLain said he saw parts of the drivers vehicle in the road, at which point he immediately pulled over and ran to the aid of the driver of the vehicle.
As he was approaching the scene, McLain says he noticed the semi driver talking on the phone and asked if he was talking with 911, which according to McClain he wasn’t. At that point McLain yelled to the semi driver to call 911.
McLain says as he noticed the driver of the crashed vehicle disoriented, unsure of where he was and what appeared, and locked inside the vehicle. As McLain was trying to talk with the driver and assess the situation, he says he noticed that the front end of the jeep had been “pushed so far back that it had bent the hinges on the doors”, not allowing the doors to open.
Knowing the driver would have to be removed from the vehicle, McLain says he just instinctively staring prying on the passenger side door hinges in order to get the door open. It was at that moment McLain says, that things became a little strange.
“While I’m prying the door open on this young kid’s vehicle, a black SUV pulls up next to me, in the corn field, literally right next to me and the vehicle that crashed with a man and woman inside. They never get out of the vehicle, they didn’t ask about the teen involved, they just pulled up and asked me what the kid’s name was.” McLain says they then asked if the kid was insured.
McLain said the statement took him back a second, to which he replied, “now is not the time for that” and just about then he heard the sirens off in the distance, presuming the sound to be the ambulance or paramedics on the way. McLain says he looked back over at the vehicle, only to see the SUV with its two passengers inside, taking off through the corn field leaving the scene.
When the ambulance and paramedics arrived, McLain says they took the teen driver to Freeport Memorial Hospital, and soon after airlifted him to Madison where he is at the present moment. McLain said it took two paramedics to eventually pry the doors open on the vehicle.
“I just couldn’t believe when I got there that the semi driver hadn’t called 911, that he called his company first”, McLain said. “The SUV pulling up with two additional people in the car, asking about the kids insurance really made me angry.”
“This kid could have been dying for all I knew and here someone’s asking me if the kid has insurance? Not even getting out of the car to help? Then as soon as you hear the sirens you take off?”
“I felt sick to my stomach”, McLain said.
McLain did say he has been in contact with the teen’s Mother who has said her son is currently doing good. “They continue to monitor him”, she told McLain in a message. She also thanked Mike for his efforts to help her son.
“Thank you so much for everything you did for my son may God bless you”, she told him.
McLain’s advice; he says the first thing you do if you see an accident is call 911. “You don’t wait for your company to show up, you don’t find out if the person has insurance or what their name is, you call 911”.
“In such a case, that hesitation could mean the life of someone’s friend, grandparent or in this case, it could have meant the life of someone’s son.”
McLain says he didn’t do anything special and says he’s not deserving of any praise, noting that he just “did what anyone should do” in a situation like that. McLain says he’s just glad the kid is OK.
We’re still waiting on the official police report of the accident.
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