Two Buffalo Grove brothers were honored as heroes by the village board this week for helping rescue the victims of a fiery crash near the Tower Road exit on the Edens Expressway earlier this year.
On April 21, Daniel and Ken Hechtman were driving home after finishing their day at their Skokie restaurant, Ken's Diner, when they saw a semi-truck swerve, striking a car.
"My brother and I were driving home, and we noticed a semi-truck right in front of us that sideswiped a car and then kind of overcompensated and went back into the center lane, and when it did, it jackknifed," Daniel Hechtman said shortly after accepting his plaque from the village board. "Coming out of the jackknife, it slammed a car up against the median, trapping two women."
At that point, he said, "The car was on fire. The truck was on fire. My brother ran to the back, and I ran up to the front."
When he got to the front, "The whole cab was engulfed in flames."
He said he saw a woman open up the door, and, having seen the gas tanks also covered in flames, he yelled at her from 40 feet off to get away.
When she opened the door, he said he saw the driver lying partly on the seat. "At that moment, I just jumped up and ran and jumped up on his step and pulled him out."
When he had got about 25 feet away, "both those gas tanks blew and threw us about 10 feet up. And I dragged him across the street, maneuvering my way around cars flying by and, at that time, I laid him on the ground and got him help and went to look for my brother."
Much to his surprise, when he saw his brother, Ken was with two women whom he had pulled from the car. "I couldn't believe they were even alive," he said.
According to the village proclamation, the brothers are now on a mission to raise funds for the two women, a mother and her young girl, who were evicted from their home while recuperating in the hospital. Donations to help Gloria Garcia and her daughter Gianna can be made at the Doug Davis foundation website, dougdavisfoundation.org.