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  Illinois State Police News Release   

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Illinois State Police Trooper Pulls Driver From Smoking Vehicle And Saves Life

Press Release Date: February 24, 2012    || Archived February 11, 2013

Trooper Known for Risking Life and Confronting Dangerous Situations

EAST HAZEL CREST – Illinois State Police Officials are crediting a 12 year veteran District Chicago Trooper for heroically saving a life.

At approximately 2:15 a.m. on Friday morning, a District Chicago Trooper, Zachary Peters, was on routine patrol when he observed a silver, 2006 Nissan 4-door vehicle that had struck a concrete barrier on I-294 southbound at the Halsted Toll Plaza.  The Nissan was engulfed in smoke and the driver was inside the vehicle, unresponsive.

Trooper Peters immediately approached the smoking vehicle and acted quickly to access the vehicle by physically breaking the passenger side window.  As a result of the severe wreckage on the driver’s side of the vehicle, Trooper Peters struggled to extricate the driver from the smoking vehicle. 

“There are no words to describe how the brave and courageous men and women of this Agency risk their lives every day so that others may live,” said ISP Director Hiram Grau.  “Trooper Peters is no stranger to placing his life in danger and his selfless actions speak volumes to the dedication of police service. We are grateful that he was able to go home to his family,” Grau added.

This is not the first time Trooper Peters has been confronted with danger.  He has been honored in the past on several occasions and recognized for saving lives and confronting dangerous offenders.

According the East Hazel Crest first responders on the scene, the actions of the Trooper saved the driver’s life.  “It could have burst into flames, it could have been much (more) dangerous than what it was,” said East Hazel Crest Fire Department Captain Kevin Vallow. 

Trooper Peters was transported to an area hospital where he was treated for smoke inhalation and cuts to both hands.  He has been released and is in good condition.  The driver has been identified as Erin K. Murray, 34, of Harvey.  Murray was transported to an area hospital where she remains in serious condition. 

The crash is believed to be alcohol related and charges are pending against the driver.

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