A Gurnee man who was trapped under several feet of water when his car flipped over Monday in a ditch off of the Edens Expressway was charged with drunk driving, officials said today.
Larry Alexander, 67, was charged with driving under the influence and was issued a citation for failing to reduce speed to avoid an accident, said Illinois State Police Trooper Ralph Schauf.
Alexander was rescued by a passing motorist and a police officer after the two-car accident occurred in the northbound lanes of the Edens north of Willow Road about 11:30 p.m.
Victor Voskovsky told WGN-TV that he was driving by and pulled over when he saw that one of the vehicles, which was driven by Alexander, had flipped over a guard rail and rolled over into a small ravine filled with several feet of water.
“I ran into the water really quick,” he said. “The door was closed on the left side because it was under water in the mud, so I went to the other side and opened the door.”
With the aid of Northfield Police Sgt. J.J. McCulloh, who was the first officer to arrive on the scene, they were able to get Alexander out of the car. But “he (Alexander) was under water for at least five minutes,” Voskovsky said.
McCulloh cut the seatbelt and pulled Alexander from the car, but he was not breathing and had no pulse, according to Northfield Police Chief Bill Lustig. Officer Kevin Tierney and Corporal Mike Hutensky performed CPR on the scene.
“They pushed him up onto the embankment and they all started CPR,” Lustig said.
Alexander's heartbeat returned, and he was transported to Evanston Hospital. Tuesday morning he was listed in critical condition, according to a hospital spokeswoman.
An emergency room doctor told officers Alexander could have been submerged for 5 to 10 minutes, Lustig said.
“I was pretty happy about how my team responded, because it sounded like they saved his life,” Lustig said. “There’s a lot of training that goes into being a police officer in this police department and they displayed a great know-how.”
The driver and passenger in the second vehicle were not seriously hurt, said Assistant Northfield Fire Chief Tom Burke.
Andrew Zuick is a WGN-TV assignment editor. Carlos Sadovi and John Huston are Tribune reporters.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun