CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago Police recruit Timothy Sweeney was on his way to buy a blueberry pie for his grandmother on Sunday when he spotted a man who had been hit by a minivan. He jumped into action, and put his medical and rescue training into action to save a life.
“This was just an incidence of being in the right place at the right time,” Sweeney said.READ MORE: IDES Kept Offices Closed While Many Struggled To Get Their Unemployment Benefits: What Really Happened
Sweeney said he and his wife were on the way to his grandmother’s house Sunday morning, and his wife wanted to get coffee, so he turned left instead of right at the intersection of Chicago and Ashland.
When he parked the car to go get a pie for his grandmother, he saw a man lying in the street who had been hit by a minivan.
Sweeney said he secured the man’s head and spine to keep him stable, and noticed the man had bright red blood visible on his leg, a clear sign of a severed artery. So he used a bystander’s belt to create a makeshift tourniquet.
“I didn’t have a tourniquet on me at the time. I didn’t have a belt on me at the time. I asked someone if they had a belt on them. One gentleman gave me his belt. I applied the belt and got it as tight as I could,” he said.
When two on-duty police officers arrived on the scene, Sweeney was able to replace the belt with an actual tourniquet, and talked to the man to keep him calm until paramedics arrived.READ MORE: More Than 9,000 Unemployment Claims Filed In Illinois Last Week Amid COVID-19 Pandemic
“I was making sure that just to get his mind off of the injury that he had,” he said. “He was worried about his cell phone at the time.”
When medics arrived a short time later, they took the man to the nearest hospital.
“We finally got our pie, me and the wife afterwards, for grandma,” Sweeney said.
Sweeney had just completed the LEMART program at the Chicago Police Academy two weeks earlier. In the program, officers learn the same kind of first aid skills taught to soldiers to prevent deaths in combat.
The course includes hands-on training in immediate care of traumatic injuries to make sure someone can make it to a hospital for surgery.MORE NEWS: President Joe Biden To Visit Chicago On Wednesday To Promote Workplace Vaccine Mandates
“There’s more to this job than just enforcing the law. It’s about saving lives, helping people at any time, day or night,” CPD Education and Training Division Deputy Chief Kevin Johnson said.