LAPORTE COUNTY | An off-duty police officer and tow truck driver worked together to save the life of a man not breathing after an accident on U.S. 30 near Wanatah.
Leonard Petrone, 58, who co-owns John's Garage in Wanatah, said he learned CPR on his own from watching emergency responders at the many accidents he's worked over the years.
"We just stayed with the guy and we got him breathing again. That's all I got to say. You got to do what you got to do," Petrone said.
Leonard Marks Jr., 72, of Hanna, was last reported in critical but stable condition at Loyola University Medical Center in Chicago.
According to LaPorte County police, the tow truck driver and off-duty Officer Rashaun Sinclair were at a crash Saturday on U.S. 30 near 900 West when the crash involving Marks occurred less than a mile away.
The men had heard Marks was not responsive, so they raced to the scene, finding Marks in his 2013 Ford Focus not breathing.
They got him out of his car and Petrone applied chest compressions while Sinclair performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
Marks was breathing again upon arrival of paramedics, who transported him to Porter Regional Hospital near Valparaiso with undisclosed injuries, police said.
According to police, it appears Marks was westbound and turned into the drivable median and then pulled out in front of an eastbound vehicle driven by 21-year-old Logan Hartz, of Rochester, who was not injured.
LaPorte County Sheriff Mike Mollenhauer said he plans to present a certificate to Petrone and Sinclair.
He also said the off-duty officer being in a take-home squad car underscores the need for take-home police vehicles.
Had the off-duty officer been in his personal vehicle without radio, "he wouldn't even know of the situation," Mollenhauer said.
Petrone said he never received any certified training in CPR but picked up on the many life-saving efforts at crash scenes.
"I'm 58 years old. I've seen it all. I just learned it over the years being out on wrecks," Petrone said.