CHICAGO (CBS) — The Elk Grove Village Fire Department has been recognized by Flight For Life with its annual Scene Call of the Year Award, for its response to a crash last year.

Elk Grove Village Fire Chief Richard Mikel said it was a terrible crash.

“We had a car go off the road, relatively high rate of speed. A car went up on its side, hit a tree roof-first while the car was on its side, basically folded the car into a horseshoe around the tree,” he said. “We were actually surprised to see that someone could survive an incident like this.”

Mikel said the driver was trapped in a tiny space, and resulted in the most complicated extrication he’s ever seen. One crew worked from the top of the car, another from the bottom to get him free.

“The space in which this gentleman was pinned was so small and so confined, it was basically surgical precision these two crews needed to use so as to not injure the driver any more than he already was injured,” he said.

The chief said crews got the man out in an hour by cutting through the floorboards, and he survived.

“That’s the absolute best part about this,” he said.