A Lemont, Illinois, man received a $1,500 speeding ticket while trying to rush his father to the emergency room because he was suffering from a heart attack (video below).
William O'Neil, 60, was furious about how he and his son, Michael O'Neil, 30, were treated while driving to the hospital, he told the Chicago Sun-Times.
William had experienced a heart attack in 2011 and was treated at Good Samaritan Hospital. When he felt pains in his shoulder and chest on Sept. 27, he reportedly told his son, “We’re going to have to go to the hospital.”
Michael was allegedly driving 82 mph in a 55 mph zone when the trooper pulled the car over.
William recounted the traffic stop to the Sun-Times:
So I rolled down the window and he said, "What's going on?"
And I said, "I think I'm having a heart attack. We're on the way to the hospital."
I said, "If you will allow me, I will reach down onto the floor for my bag of medication."
So he told me to lift up the bag. I lifted it up and he said, "You don't look like you're having a heart attack," which you know, um, was pretty rough. I mean, that's pretty rough."
A spokesman for the Illinois State Police told the Sun-Times: “Mr. O’Neil’s recollection of the events [is] not accurate to what occurred on the officer’s in-car video. The officer’s conduct was proper and within policy during the incident," according to Fox News.
Michael asked the trooper if he could drive to the hospital, as William wanted to go to the specific hospital where he was previously treated for a heart attack. The trooper reportedly told William that he would need to go to the hospital in an ambulance and that his son was going to receive a citation.
Upon the arrival of the ambulance, the emergency responders reported that William's readings were abnormal, and he was later diagnosed with a heart attack.
He was taken to Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital, which was five minutes away, compared to Good Samaritan Hospital, which was reportedly 20 minutes away.
The following day, William was operated on so he could receive a stent to fix the blockage in an artery.
“The last thing he said to me was something like, ‘You need to slow down next time,’” Michael said of the trooper, adding that the trooper finished handing him the $1,500 ticket after his father was taken away in the ambulance.
Master Sgt. Matthew Boerwinkle, a spokesman for the Illinois State Police, explained the officer's side of the story to the Sun-Times.
He said that state policy strongly discourages officers from escorting people's vehicles to hospitals due to "the extreme hazard not only to the escorting officer, but also to the occupants of the escorted vehicle and other motorists."
"The chances of causing a crash increase significantly during self-transport, because motorists tend to drive erratically and speed excessively during medical emergencies," Boerwinkle added.