Hyde Park teacher who cared for carjacking victim calls for trauma center

By LINDSAY WELBERS
Staff Writer

A man who was recently pinned underneath a car following a carjacking in Hyde Park waited 15 minutes for an ambulance to transport him to Northwestern Memorial Hospital for treatment.

On Saturday, May 10, around 11 a.m., a 16-year-old boy entered a vehicle that had been left unattended at the BP gas station at 5200 S. Lake Park Ave. He attempted to flee in the vehicle when the car’s owner held onto the driver’s side door and tried to retake control.

The juvenile lost control of the vehicle and struck a second car while traveling southbound on Lake Park Avenue. The 34-year-old victim was thrown from his car and became pinned underneath a third vehicle.

While the juvenile was in custody in less than five minutes, 17 minutes passed from the time when the University of Chicago Police Department heard the initial calls on its radio and when the victim was transported to Northwestern, seven miles away.

The University of Chicago Medical Center, located two miles away, does not have a trauma center or emergency room that treats adult patients.

Paul Horton, a Hyde Park resident who was on the scene of the incident, said he helped care for the victim until the ambulance arrived. Horton, along with a crew of ComEd workers and other people there at the time of the incident, helped to pull the car off the victim.

“We were all in a state of shock,” Horton said. “It was kind of like feet hanging out from under the car. [We thought] there was no way he could survive. After a minute or two we decided to pick up the back end of the car because he was trapped under the rear axle and moved it. The guy was bleeding like crazy.”

After five or six minutes, Horton said, the victim moved and showed signs of life.

“You don’t have a trauma center at the U. of C., and response time is really important because if we don’t have a trauma center it’s got to be a faster response time down here,” Horton said. “The guy needed help right away. It was an eternity before anyone got there … we were just helpless it was a feeling of complete and utter helplessness. This guy was dying.”

The juvenile was charged with one count each of felony possession of a stolen motor vehicle, felony aggravated battery and misdemeanor criminal damage to property. He appeared before Judge Stuart Paul Katz, associate judge in the Juvenile Justice Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County. He was ordered held in custody until his next court date on June 5.

The victim was listed in critical condition according to most recent reports available at Herald press time.

l.welbers@hpherald.com