Elgin man honored for rescuing Cook County sheriff's deputy from burning car
Cook County sheriff's deputies patrol suburban streets as part of their mission to serve the public, but during the early morning hours of Aug. 30, an Elgin man was able to help someone in uniform.
Ruben Xochihua was on his delivery route around 3:30 a.m. when he came upon a burning vehicle at the intersection of Barrington and Golf roads in Hoffman Estates. It was the squad car of Deputy Margie Sullivan, who had just been in a crash with another car while responding to a call.
The impact forced the squad car off the roadway, where it struck a curb, rupturing its gas tank and causing the vehicle to erupt in flames.
Xochihua saw Sullivan trapped in the car. He was able to pull her out just as flames began to enter the driver's compartment, police said.
Because of Xochihua's actions, the officer is alive today, Hoffman Estates Mayor Bill McLeod said, in explaining why the village bestowed on him its Great Citizen Award.
"This is an amazing story of a citizen saving a public safety employee. It's usually the other way around. But we're glad you were there," McLeod told Xochihua, who was joined by his family at the village board meeting Nov. 5.
Sullivan, seated in a wheelchair with one leg elevated in a brace, called him an "angel" and joked that she didn't think he existed until she met him in person.
Sullivan was joined by some of her colleagues, including District Cmdr. John Blair, who also awarded Xochihua with a commendation. He thanked Hoffman Estates' police and fire departments for their investigation of the crash that resulted in connecting officers with Xochihua.
"It is a true story of heroism and bravery," Blair said.
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