Tape still surrounds a home on Emerald Lane in Machesney Park on Monday afternoon, where just a day before a man nearly lost his life.
“He just went down in the ditch up and over, just missed oncoming traffic, then went across another side street and just went into the house,” said Roscoe resident Jeremy Raymond. Raymond was driving south on Route 251 in Machesney Park when he saw a vehicle in front of him lose control.
He watched the car drive straight into a home on the 800 block of Emerald Lane, he then took swift action.
“I knew right away that the guy needed help,” he said.
Raymond and Winnebago County Sheriff’s Sergeant Bob Swank and Deputies Ryan Fish, Angela Tetzlaff, and Ron James saw the driver was still in the car, and noticed it was beginning to catch on fire.
“The first officer on scene, I ran up to her and told her what had happened and she brought out a device to start breaking into the vehicle,” Raymond added. Officers then broke the vehicle’s windows and removed 77 year old Frank Martorana who suffered a medical emergency behind the wheel.
North Park Fire responded to the scene just as deputies were pulling Martorana out of the car. “The conditions as we were arriving progressively became worse,” said North Park Fire Department Deputy Chief Brian Kunce. “Just another minute or two and there’s no way they would have been able to enter safely,” he added.
North Park and several other departments were able to contain the fire and luckily no one else was hurt. Sheriff Gary Caruana commends his officers for their bravery, calling them heroes.”I’m certainly going to be doing something for the deputies,” Caruana said. “I’m not sure what, maybe a letter of accommodation or something, but they went above and beyond which I’m very proud for them for doing that,” he added.
Sheriff Caruana told Eyewitness News that Martorana personally called all the deputies and thanked them for saving his life.