(CBS) – A north suburban officer is being hailed as a hero for helping rescue a 38-year-old motorist whose vehicle plunged into Round Lake Thursday morning.
CBS 2’s Sandra Torres reports.
Dashcam video captures the moment Round Lake Park Police Officer Christopher Valle arrives and sees a van submerged in the water.
“Once I arrived I took all my gear off. I knew I needed to go inside that car,” he says.
Without hesitating, Officer Valle gets in the water and starts swimming to try to help the driver.
“The water was by his chest — you could only see his face,” the officer says. “I was able to keep his head up and put it on head rest in order for him to keep breathing. He was a little bit dazed. He was conscious.”
Minutes later, members of the Round Lake Fire Protection district arrives.
“Our water rescue team entered the water in exposure suits,” Deputy Chief Joe Krueger says. “It was critical because the vehicle was filling up w water and sinking at the same time.”
It turns out, the driver had a medical emergency while parked in the lot. The vehicle moved slowly down the boat ramp and made it into the water.
The 38-year-old was pulled out of the water to safety.
“I tell you what: It took a lot of guts to jump in the water,” Krueger says.
“You don’t think about it sometimes,” Valle says. “You go in right away and do the best you can because you know that person needs your help.”
Valle has only been on the job for one year. The driver remains hospitalized but is in stable condition.