CHICAGO (CBS) -- Ed Suarez said he couldn't believe his eyes Monday when he saw a disoriented 80-year-old woman drive onto the railroad tracks in Western Springs at the height of the evening rush, but he's glad he didn't think twice about springing into action.
Suarez was on Wolf Road in Western Springs, near the BNSF Line tracks, when he spotted a woman make a left turn off Wolf, but instead of going onto one of the two streets running parallel to the tracks, she drove onto the center set of Metra tracks.
"In my head, I'm thinking, 'You're not doing that. You're really not doing that,'" Suarez said. "It was one of those things where I never even thought about stopping. I knew that there was somebody in trouble. I ran out there and did what I had to do."
Suarez, a ComEd worker trained to react quickly in emergencies, abandoned his own car, and chased after the woman's car, all the while throwing rocks at her to get her attention, and eventually convinced her to stop and get out.
"I opened the door. I remember seeing the walker in the back seat, so when she says 'I can't walk,' I thought, 'Okay, let's go,'" he said. "I look up, and there's a westbound train coming, and I said, 'Okay, let's go,' and I just grabbed her arm, threw it over my neck, and I started dragging her out of the car."
Suarez and a woman who came soon after him moved the elderly woman about 25 feet away from the tracks.
A minute or so later, an oncoming train on a different track knocked off the door of the woman's car.
Suarez credited Western Springs police officers with bravery for using their bodies to shield the woman from possible metal or glass debris when the train hit the woman's car door.
"The police officers put themselves between the victim and the back of the car, and they literally – a veteran cop says … to the other one, 'Okay, we've got to stand ourselves, we've got to put ourselves right here, because when that car gets hit, they're going to splatter steel, and this lady might get hit,'" he said.
If you call Suarez a hero, he'll tell you "We do what we got to do. There's no hero here."
Suarez said he was just relieved there was a happy ending.
No one was injured, although the woman was taken to the hospital for observation.
Western Springs police said she would be given a traffic citation for making an improper turn.
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