IRVING PARK — A suburban man was pinned between two cars in a hit-and-run crash in Irving Park last week, and doctors are battling to save his leg from being amputated, according to his family and police.
Raul Basulto, an engineer from suburban Elmwood Park, was servicing an ATM around 2:45 p.m. Saturday at The Cabin at Old Irving, 4104 N. Pulaski Road, his sister-in-law Francis Tayupanta-Kostelis said.
Basulto went back outside to retrieve something from the trunk of his parked Jeep Cherokee when the driver of a pickup truck crashed into a red Toyota parked behind Basulto, pinning him between the Toyota and the Jeep, Tayupanta-Kostelis and police said. The driver of the truck fled the scene, police said.
“He takes his car camping all the time and it looks like the trailer hitch on his Jeep went through his right leg, severing his artery,” Tayupanta-Kostelis said.
Police released a community alert asking the public’s help in tracking down the driver of the pickup truck, possibly a blue or gray Chevrolet Silverado Z71 with a hardtop. The driver was last seen headed west on Irving Park Road from Pulaski, police said.
Police are asking people to call 911 if they spot the truck. Anyone with information about the hit-and-run should also call the Major Accident Investigation Unit at (312) 745-4521.
After he was pinned, Basulto quickly took off his belt to use it as a makeshift tourniquet to slow the bleeding from his right leg and started screaming at the top of his lungs for help, Tayupanta-Kostelis said.
A kid on a bicycle heard the yells and stopped to help Basulto with the tourniquet and call 911, Tayupanta-Kostelis said.
Basulto was taken to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center for treatment.
“Now doctors are debating if they’re going to cut his leg off or not. It’s not just him and his family but hundreds of people are going to be affected by this, like the kids he leads and the veterans he works with,” Tayupanta-Kostelis said.
Basulto, 48, is the father of 19-year-old triplets.
He’s a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who fought in Operation Desert Storm and active in the both the River Grove American Legion Post 335 and Central Leyden VFW Post 5979. He’s also a leader with Boy Scout Troop 690 in Elmwood Park where his two sons are Eagle Scouts, Tayupanta-Kostelis said.
“He just helps. If you call him up and say, ‘You know what, I gotta build a shelf and I need an extra hand.’ He’s there. He’s just the most dependable family man. That’s just who he is,” Tayupanta-Kostelis said.
“Raul is great leader with the kids in his scout troop. He’s just a very giving guy but he’s also very low-key about it,” VFW Post 5979 Quartermaster Richard Wojewnik said. “When we’re at the post doing events or other things, he helps us out a lot. We can truly count on him. It was so sad when I heard what happened to him.”
VFW River Grove post 5979 Commander Shawn Schroeder launched a GoFundMe this week hoping to raise $20,000 to help cover Basulto’s medical bills.
“He is going through multiple surgeries and his family is going through a terrible time right now,” Schroeder wrote on the fundraiser’s page. “We are trying to raise funds to defray the money and bills that are going to be coming in from this long hospital stay and recovery. We are asking that anybody in the community whether it be near or far, please help Raul.”
Basulto was transferred to Northwestern Memorial Hospital Wednesday night in an effort to give him more options to save his leg, Tayupanta-Kostelis said.
“If Raul had been the one who hit the parked car and saw a man pinned he would have gotten out and helped,” Tayupanta-Kostelis said. “Accidents happen but what you do afterwards matters. You have a decision to do good or bad. And the driver, that person, decided to be selfish and just continue driving.”
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