On Friday, April 13, 2015, Chicago police officers Peter Gurskis and Hector Fuentes, regular partners for 15 years, were on patrol northbound in the 5700 block of Kedzie Avenue when they observed a Chevy Aveo swerve into oncoming traffic. A large poultry truck was traveling in the opposite direction and struck the Chevy head on, causing the vehicle to burst into flames. Fuentes and Gurskis immediately notified dispatch to send CFD to their location and the officers rushed to the burning vehicle to assist the driver, who was pinned inside.
The car door was jammed shut from the collision, so the officers began to push down on the window frame in an effort to extricate the driver. Officer Gurskis was able to grab the victim by his shoulders as Officer Fuentes freed the man’s legs which were pinned beneath the dash. With the fire and smoke growing more intense, the officers were finally able to free the driver from the wreckage and dragged him to safety.
At this time, the driver notified the officers that his friend was a passenger in the burning car. Because thick smoke had filled the interior of the Chevy, the officers were unable to see this second occupant. Fuentes and Gurskis rushed back into the flames, removed the unconscious passenger and pulled him to a safe location. Both victims were transported to Mt. Sinai Hospital where they were treated for severe injuries.
Had these heroic officers not take action and waited for CFD to arrive, the occupants of the vehicle most certainly would have perished.
P.O. Peter Gurskis began his career with the Chicago Police Department on October 26, 1998. He was first assigned to the 007th District where he met P.O. Hector Fuentes. Upon completion of their probationary period, the two officers became regular partners. They soon transferred to the 008th District, their current unit of assignment. Because they have worked together so long and know each others reactions to different, stressful situations, Gurskis was very grateful to have his partner on scene the night of the incident.
P.O. Hector Fuentes has been a Chicago Police Officer for more than 15 years. He is currently assigned to the 008th District and refers to Peter Gurskis as not only a partner, but a great friend. Fuentes never thought of becoming a police officer, but decided to take the entrance exam when he became bored with his job as a pharmacy tech. Knowing the dangers of police work at the time, he kept his decision quiet from his family.