A suburban resident is being hailed as a hero after he risked his life to save a driver whose car was trapped on railroad tracks over the weekend.
According to authorities, a 72-year-old man from Aurora had turned west from Barnes Road and driven onto railroad tracks in Sugar Grove Township Saturday evening. The driver then continued driving down the tracks before the vehicle became stuck.
Lewis Medina, who lives nearby, was driving with his daughter and grandson when he spotted the SUV.
“The way the wheels were spinning, I knew somebody was in there,” he said.
Authorities say the man was suffering from a medical episode, and was unable to move.
“I told the gentleman ‘how about I get you out of the car to a safe area, and we’ll get your car off the tracks before a train comes,’” Medina said.
Medina called 911 for assistance, but that’s when he looked down the tracks and saw a train coming right for him. The Good Samaritan knew that they didn’t have time for rescue workers to arrive, and jumped into action.
“I said ‘I don’t think we have time,’ so I unbuckled him, I grabbed him a bear hug, thinking he’ll put his arms around me, but he just slipped right out of my arms,” he said. “So I grab him by his shirt and pants and he fell right between the tracks so now I’m really panicking.”
Medina’s daughter was watching the entire scene unfold.
“I looked out the window and I saw the arm coming down, and at that moment I tried to listen for my dad or any sign that he didn’t get hit, but I couldn’t hear anything over the sound of the horn,” Hannah Medina said.
Medina was able to help save the man, rolling down the train tracks with the man just as the train came by and slammed into the SUV, and rescue workers arrived on scene to take the man to a local hospital for treatment.
“I know it was God,” he said. “There’s no way I could have picked that man up there, there’s no way. My biggest thing was, ‘I gotta help him.’ I think anybody would do that.”
The Kane County Sheriff’s Department says that the victim in the incident will be okay, and that Medina will be honored at next month’s county board meeting.