On Friday, July 14, 2017 at 9:38 a.m. Riverside Detective Sergeant Leo Kotor and Detective James Lazansky were transporting a prisoner back from Evergreen Park to Riverside when they witnessed a motorcycle that was struck by a vehicle. The detectives were transporting the subject who was wanted for a violent domestic battery that had occurred earlier in the week. The two detectives had staked out his home in Evergreen Park and took him into custody without incident.
While waiting at the traffic light at 73rd and Harlem in Bridgeview, the officers observed a motorcycle get struck by a BMW which was heavily damaged. The injuries appeared to be severe and traffic in the area came to a complete stop. The detectives, who were in an unmarked squad car, activated their emergency lights and took up a position to block traffic. They initially called the Riverside 9‑1‑1 center and asked them to notify Bridgeview of the injury accident and to have both police and fire respond.
While waiting for both fire and police to arrive on scene, the Riverside detectives got out of their vehicle to see if they could render aid. There were people in the crowd yelling for the officers to do something as they approached the individual. The officers exited their vehicle and went to the rear of their detective car and grabbed a bag that is full of medical supplies including a tourniquet. The bag is commonly referred to as a critical incident trauma bag. When they got to the injured party, they saw that he had back injuries and a large deformation in the front of his head which was bleeding profusely. Additionally, the injured motorcyclist had a large hole where his bone was visibly protruding from his right arm. The detectives opened the bag and deployed the tourniquet and placed it in its proper place working tandem to apply it. (Tourniquet applied to right bicep)
Officers and citizens also applied bandages to the back of the injured party's head where he had a large hemorrhage as blood was pouring out of the back of it at the same time they were applying the tourniquet.
Riverside detectives also observed that this individual had a police I.D. and weapon on him. The individual was an off‑duty Cook County Sheriff's police officer. Riverside officers secured his weapon and turned it over to the Bridgeview police officer that was handling the case.
When Bridgeview fire and paramedics arrived, Riverside detectives turned over the medical care to the paramedics.
Riverside Police Chief Thomas Weitzel stated, “Riverside vehicles are equipped with critical incident trauma bags. Following a life threatening injury, when time matters and every second counts, having the basic equipment to sustain life until further medical assistance and treatment can arrive is essential. This bag includes the tourniquet that was applied by my detectives.
Chief Weitzel went on to say, “Both Sergeant Leo Kotor and Detective James Lazansky received training in injury assessment and application of tourniquets for severe injuries as part of their emergency response training. This is the first time the use of a tourniquet was applied by a Riverside police officer. In this case, it directly assisted in saving the motorcyclist's life and preventing further injury.”
Photo, L to R, Detective Jim Laznasky and Det. Sgt. Leo Kotor.