BEACH PARK, Ill. (CBS) — A veteran sheriff’s deputy rushed to the scene of an accident early Monday, knowing he had only seconds to save a man’s arm and possibly his life.
As CBS 2’s Jeremy Ross reported, the victim was walking and was hit by a car in the far north suburban village of Beach Park. It all happened around 5:50 a.m.
The man was found lying in the grass – the injuries including a partial amputation that was described as life-threatening.
“It was somewhat of a chaotic scene,” said Lake County Deputy Sheriff Stephen Campobasso. “The driver who had struck him was upset about it.”
Early Monday morning at Sheridan Road near York House Road, a series of firsts for Campobasso took place.
“One of the first times I was actually able to be there that quickly to actually render aid,” he said.
Campobasso happened to be just about a minute away from the scene at that time – as a matter just of pure luck.
It was especially lucky for the 30-year-old Waukegan man who was walking in the roadway when he was hit by a driver.
Campobasso, a 13-year veteran of the department, helped with the aftermath. It was a scene he may never forget.
“I do see a lot of horrific stuff. This is up there. It was very nasty,” Campobasso said. “I could see almost through his whole arm and there was a vast amount of blood.”
He used a tourniquet to stop the intense bleeding until paramedics arrived.
“It was a least a few minutes before an ambulance was able to respond there and render aid to him,” Campobasso said.
When asked if he thought he saved the man’s life, Campobasso said, “I believe so; I hope so.”
As to how many times he had administered such first aid before, Campobasso said: “I’ve never applied a tourniquet in real life. I don’t know how many times in training.”
He explained that anyone applying a tourniquet must get it as tight as possible and crank it down to keep it that way.
“Hopefully, you can see the blood stop flowing,” Campobasso said.
The Lake County Sheriff’s office said the driver of a 2014 Dodge Caravan stopped at the scene. The scene was made less desperate by a device and a quick-responding deputy who relied on his training in a time of crisis.
“I think afterwards, my adrenaline was pumping, but during the incident, training muscle memory took over, and I did what I was supposed to do, and I did what I was trained to do,” Campobasso said.
The investigation into the crash continued Monday night. The deputy is keeping tabs on the medical condition of the man who was hit – at last update, the man was in surgery.