CHICAGO — The family of a woman badly hurt in a crash Thursday on an Illinois highway is thanking the good Samaritan who came to her rescue.
Frank Visconti and a friend were heading to the hospital last week for blood work. They were southbound on I-294 near Willow Road, roughly 25 miles north of Chicago, when Visconti saw debris flying and traffic come to a halt just a few feet in front of them.
As he drove by the horrific crash, Visconti felt compelled to pull over and run to the aid of a woman who some thought was dead.
A car driven by Kim Huguelet slammed into the back of the semi and trapped her inside.
“To see the vehicle and the condition it was in, I thought maybe it was going to be a fatality,” Visconti said. “But when she looked up at me, that was it.”
Visconti sprung into action and used techniques learned in firefighter training from years ago when he was a paid on-call firefighter in Knollwood.
“I just crawled into the vehicle and started pulling pieces of the dashboard off of her,” he said. “And she was just really, really in bad shape. I observed her head had a really big cut in it and at that point, I just put pressure on her head and stopped the bleeding as much as I could.
Visconti continued to talk to Huguelet and tried to keep her calm and awake until the fire department arrived along with a helicopter to rush her to the hospital.
“All's I'm thinking is this girl needs help and I need to help her,” he said.
The family of Huguelet said they believe Visconti ’s selfless actions save her life.
“We’ll never be able to thank him for just comforting and keeping our sister safe,” Huguelet’s sister Amy Bailey said. “And I really think he helped save her life. I know he did.”
Huguelet is recovering at Lutheran General Hospital with her hero Visconti by her side. He visits regularly and calls daily and expects to throw a big party for her when she recovers.
“I don’t think I’m a hero,” Visconti said. “It was just something that … she was alone and no one was really helping her at all and I just had to help her.”
Huguelet's family said she's not out of the woods yet. She's had a couple of surgeries. They are hopeful, but doctors are taking it day by day. The family wanted to bring attention to Visconti ’s heroic actions because they say it’s not something you hear about often, or at least often enough.