CHICAGO (CBS) — An investigator with the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office was on his way to check out a death – but his drive got interrupted.
And as CBS 2’s Jermont Terry reported Monday night, the investigator, Larry Santoro, ended up saving a life.
When Santoro left the Medical Examiner’s Robert J. Stein Institute at 2150 W. Harrison St. Monday afternoon, nothing compared to what he spotted while driving on the Eisenhower Expressway.
“Here I thought I was going to a scene and I come across this accident,” he said.
Just as Santoro passed the Central Avenue exit, he saw a car smoking.
“It shows you don’t know what life brings you,” he said.
The ME investigator, who deals with death daily, got a chance to save a life while on call. He radioed for help.
“Yeah, I’m on 290-Central,” Santoro said over the radio. “I got two men passed out inside a vehicle with the vehicle on fire. I’m trying to get them out.”
One man in the vehicle was unconscious. That was when Santoro jumped into action.
“It was a very intense situation,” Santoro said. “It was chaotic, because you had citizens, and you had people honking, as then you try to get emergency personnel to get there.”
But before medics could arrive, Santoro started CPR on the side of the road.
“We heard him gurgling a little bit, so we rolled him on his side until (the Fire Department) got there,” he said.
Santoro noted that CPR is not part of what he does at the county morgue.
“The last time I did CPR was probably through CPR class years ago – that probably was the last time,” he said. “And that was just on an artificial doll.”
Yet on Monday, it all paid off – a change of pace for an investigator who deals with so much death.
Terry: “Today, it seems like you kept someone from becoming a part of your paperwork and this process.
Santoro: “Yes, thank God.”
In today’s society, when people are more prone to pull out their phones than pull over, Santoro wants people to remember that life is precious.
“If you stop and help – or even if you stop, pull over, call 911 – it’s better than videotaping and putting it and sharing on social media, because that second; that minute, makes a big difference in somebody’s outcome,” Santoro said.