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Police Sergeant, Good Samaritan Come To Aid Of Three Teenage Girls After Light Pole Fell On Them

(CBS) -- A light pole fell on three teenage girls late Monday morning in the 5200 block of South Lake Park Avenue in the Hyde Park neighborhood and a Chicago police sergeant and a Good Samaritan came to their rescue.

Driving alone, Sergeant Isaac Lambert looked up and saw a light pole falling. He says it fell on three girls who were students at Kenwood Academy.

"Two of the ladies jumped up and started screaming and yelling," Lambert said. "The other... young girl was still stuck under the pole.

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"I get out of my vehicle. I go over to her. They're like, 'Lift that pole that's stuck on me! Lift it up! Lift it up!'

"So I go over there and attempt to lift it up. A gentleman - a male, appeared to be Hispanic - older guy came over and helped me lift the pole off her. We moved her a little bit. And after that I could see that her injuries were pretty bad, pretty gruesome."

The injured girl was taken in serious condition to Northwestern Memorial Hospital with a leg fracture.

Two other students were taken to University of Chicago's Comer Children's Hospital as a precaution, police said. Neither had visible injuries.

Sergeant Lambert says what kept going through his mind was: He would want someone to help his kids if they'd been the ones injured.

The potential danger was evident to nearby store manager Duane Armour, who saw the pole leaning minutes earlier.

"It was like a 70 degree angle," Armour said. "It wasn't upright at all."

The bottoms of city light poles frequently rust out. Rain, snow and road salt accumulate, as does the urine that dogs target them with.

A report by CBS 2's Dave Savini revealed the city received more than 300 calls for rusty or leaning light poles from 2013 to 2015 with 49 injures reported.

Armour said he heard he could hear the screaming.

"It was excruciating, like a movie, like a horror movie," he said.

A spokesman for the Chicago Department of Transportation says they have not found any reports of damage to any pole at the location over the last two years and that CDOT Division of Electrical Operations workers are looking into the cause of the accident.

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