Gurnee Police Chief Brian Smith speaks during a Gurnee Village Board meeting Monday evening honoring Lisa Rivera, Nicholas Lunsford and Winnebago County Sheriff’s Deputy William Eichholtz for their actions in saving the life of an injured woman in a vehicle crash last month. | Provided Photo

Officers and good Samaritans, whom officials described as “brave souls,” were honored Monday for saving the lives of victims in two separate serious crashes in Gurnee.

The Gurnee Police Department and Gurnee Fire Department recognized the efforts of the four bystanders and officers during the Gurnee Village Board Meeting on Monday evening.

Registered nurse Lisa Rivera, Nicholas Lunsford and Winnebago County Sheriff’s Deputy William Eichholtz were honored for their actions following a crash that occurred around 7:45 a.m. on November 1.

Gurnee Police Department Public Information Officer Shawn Gaylor said a 2008 Chrysler minivan and a 2019 BMW X3 were involved in a minor collision at Route 132 and Lawson Boulevard in Gurnee.

Gurnee Police Chief Brian Smith honors Gurnee Police Officer Kassandra Canadzic during a Gurnee Village Board meeting Monday evening for her actions in saving the life of an injured driver trapped in a fiery vehicle crash last month. | Provided Photo

A 44-year-old Gurnee woman exited the BMW to inspect the damage before officers arrived, Gaylor said.

She was standing between the back end of the BMW and the front bumper of the Chrysler when a third vehicle, a 2009 Nissan sedan, collided with the back of the Chrysler.

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Gaylor said the collision pinned the 44-year-old woman between two cars and left her with severe injuries.

Rivera, Lunsford, and Eichholtz stopped and rendered first aid after noticing the woman lying on the pavement.

Eichholtz, who was on his way to training, came upon the crash and applied tourniquets to both of the woman’s legs to control the bleeding while being aided by the two others.

Gurnee Police Officer Kassandra Canadzic rescues an unresponsive driver from a vehicle that caught on fire after it struck the rear of the officer’s squad car on southbound Route 41 just north of Route 120 in Gurnee on November 9, 2023. | Provided Photos

Rivera, Lunsford and Eichholtz were all on their way to work and “demonstrated remarkable composure and medical expertise, [and] swiftly assessed the gravity of the situation,” Gaylor said.

“Collaborating seamlessly, they applied tourniquets to control the injured woman’s bleeding, ensuring her stability until officers and paramedics arrived,” Gaylor said.

Officers and paramedics arrived moments later to take over lifesaving measures.

The 44-year-old woman was transported by the Gurnee Fire Department to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville in critical condition.

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In a second incident that occurred just before 11 p.m. on November 9, Gurnee Police Officer Kassandra Canadzic’s patrol car was rear-ended by a suspected drunk driver on Route 41.

Bodycam video released last week showed Canadzic exiting her squad after calling for help.

She rushed to check on the occupants of the other vehicle, which had caught fire during the collision.

“Despite the flames intensifying, Officer Canadzic managed to rescue an unresponsive female from the burning vehicle, coordinating efforts with a bystander to unbuckle the seatbelt and carry the driver to safety,” Gaylor said.

“With swift actions, she ensured the well-being of the passengers and cautioned others to stay clear of the escalating danger,” Gaylor said.

Canadzic, Rivera, Lunsford and Eichholtz were recognized during the Monday board meeting.

Family and friends of the honorees along with first responders, elected officials and community members attended the ceremony.

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“Let’s extend our heartfelt congratulations once more to these brave souls whose actions made a profound impact on others’ lives,” police officials said.