An off-duty police officer and a good Samaritan helped rescue a woman from a car fire shortly before it engulfed her vehicle in McHenry County today, officials said.
The woman was travelling east on Northwest Highway near Woodstock at about 7 a.m. today when she lost control of her 1997 Plymouth and drove into the westbound lanes and collided with a school bus that was empty except for its driver, according to the McHenry County Sheriff’s office.
Authorities said the Plymouth driver’s car came to a stop in the road, blocking traffic. McHenry County Conservation District Police Officer Dan Hibbeler was driving on his way to work when he came upon the accident. He pulled over, got out of his car and found the woman stretched from the front seat to the back seat, bleeding with her arm hurting badly.
Hibbeler, who is 37 and lives in Huntley, said it didn’t cross his mind to worry about his own safety, he was just concentrating on getting the driver out.
“Kind of a crazy morning,” Hibbeler said. “I’m just glad it turned out the way it did. It feels great to start your morning off like that.”
While flames flickered in the smashed engine compartment, Hibbeler and a Good Samaritan on the scene, who police identified as a Woodstock man, carried the victim out of her car and laid her on the grass on the roadside. Within minutes, the car burst into flames and was engulfed.
The Woodstock Fire Department put out the fire and took both drivers to Centegra Hospital in Woodstock, police said. The bus driver was treated and released, and the Plymouth driver was treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
McHenry County Undersheriff Andrew Zinke gave credit to Hibbeler and the Woodstock man for “an outstanding job.”
“Their heroic actions during the car fire saved (the driver) from further serious injury or death.”
The crash is still under investigation.
Police said the school bus was from Durham School Bus Services. It’s the same bus company involved in a crash in Lake County Friday that killed a motorist in another car and caused minor injuries to several students on the bus. That crash also remains under investigation.