Police Recruit Critically Injured While Helping Motorist

Daniel Vazquez, a Marine veteran, was looking forward to graduating academy in three weeks

Friday, Oct 22, 2010  |  Updated 10:15 PM CDT
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Police Recruit Critically Injured While Helping Motorist

Daniel Vazquez, 28, was struck by a car on the Stevenson Expressway at Damen Avenue as he was helping another driver who'd hit the median.

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A probationary officer looking forward to graduating from the Chicago Police Academy next month remains in critical condition after being struck by another vehicle while helping a stranded driver.

Daniel Vazquez, 28, was struck shortly before 1 a.m. on the Stevenson Expressway at Damen Avenue as he was helping another driver who'd hit the median.

Vazquez was a former Marine who served in Iraq, the Chicago Tribune reported, and was expecting to graduate from the academy on Nov. 16.

"He was an outstanding recruit," said Lt. Michael Pigott, the commanding officer for recruit training at the academy. 

Pigott told ABC 7 that the incident comes at a difficult time for the academyOfficer Thomas Wortham had worked at the training academy prior to his death in May, and Officer Thor Soderberg was a lead instructor when he was killed in July.

The 26-year-old Chicago man who hit Vazquez said he'd fallen asleep behind the wheel.  He was cited for failing to reduce speed, driving without a license, failure to yield to a pedestrian and improper lane usage, said Illinois State Police District Chicago Master Sgt. Devin Stokes. 

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