Kevin Strohl was almost home from work, turning into his subdivision at about 6:40 p.m. Tuesday, when out of the corner of his eye, he noticed an Arlington Heights police SUV slowly roll through an intersection. Then it crashed into a pole.
Strohl quickly parked and ran to the squad, still running and in gear against a light pole at Algonquin Road and Briarwood Drive in Mount Prospect.
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Strohl and another passer-by could see the officer inside, disoriented and laboring to breathe.
"We could just see him struggling, and we couldn't get in," said Strohl, of Mount Prospect. "He wasn't alert."
Strohl called 911, and the dispatch operator told them to get into the locked vehicle. They banged on the windows, hoping to get the officer's attention, and when that failed a construction worker who stopped to help used a crowbar to try to pry a door open.
When that wouldn't work, the dispatcher told them to break out the passenger window.
Shortly after, an ambulance and Mount Prospect firefighters arrived, along with numerous other police officers.
The officer, who seemed to have had a seizure, Strohl said, was starting to come to and asking what happened.
Mount Prospect fire officials confirmed that the officer had a "medical event" and was taken to Northwest Community Hospital in stable condition. They declined further comment.
What began as a scary situation, concluded with a much happier ending, Strohl said.
"He could have been driving down the road," Strohl said. "Luckily, it was a slow speed, and he ran into a streetlight and nothing else."
Arlington Heights police said Tuesday evening the crash is being investigated.