Fundraiser started for engineer working on Addams Tollway over Fox River
An online fundraiser has been started to help the family of a construction engineer severely injured Monday working on the Jane Addams Tollway bridge over the Fox River in Elgin.
Rudolf Das of Naperville, who works for Indiana-based K&S Engineers, suffered a broken back, ribs, knee and nose, along with a punctured lung and ankle injury, his wife, Jona Das, said Friday.
Das, 51, was pinned when a crane component weighing thousands of pounds fell, Elgin fire officials said. He is scheduled to undergo further surgery at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, where he's in the intensive care unit, before doctors determine whether he'll be able to walk again, his wife said.
"I'm still in shock. He's still in the same position since Monday. He has a breathing tube," she said.
Jona Das said she's grateful for any help with medical bills. The couple, married 21 years, have a 9-year-old daughter and another daughter who attends the University of Illinois at Chicago.
"I'm a housewife, I'm not working, and I have two daughters. Whatever help it is, I appreciate everything," she said.
Rudolf Das' co-worker, Tony Dahms, a member of International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150, started the fundraiser via Give Forward.
Dahms, a heavy equipment operator, said he met Rudolf Das about two months ago when Dahms joined K&S Engineering, a contractor for the Illinois Tollway's widening project.
Rudolf Das, -- said to always have a kind, calm demeanor -- was the kind of guy "you work hard for," Dahms said.
"I've never worked with a nicer man, let alone had one as a foreman," he said. "There's no screaming or arm-waving like we're used to, or any kind of derogatory demeanor. He's just not the kind of person you run across in construction."
It was miraculous that no one else got hurt, Dahms said.
"I was near in my machine and I heard it. I just saw people scatter and yell to call 911," he said. "There were several guys in the area, but poor Rudy was the only one that got hit."
Dahms said he started the fundraiser as soon as he found out the extent of Das' injuries. "I have a daughter, too, and I was thinking in my mind how horrible it is for them."
Representatives of the K&S Engineers branch in Lombard, where Rudolf Das works, declined to comment about the accident.
Tollway representatives said the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating. OSHA did not return a call seeking comment.
The K&S Engineers crew has not worked at the Elgin site all week, although another contractor is still working there, Dahms said.
To contribute to the fundraiser, visit giveforward.com and search for "Rudolf Das."