Joshua Kuhl of Machesney Park, near Rockford, was traveling southbound on I-290/Route 53 when he entered the ramp to I-90 west and lost control at just before 5 p.m., said Illinois State Police Master Sgt. Lance Powell.
Kuhl, the father of 1-year-old triplets who was wearing a helmet, was flung to the ramp from westbound I-90 to southbound I-290/Route 53.
Jammie Meyer of Elk Grove Village, an aquatics supervisor for the Bloomingdale Park District who trains lifeguards in CPR, happened to be driving past and was the first on the scene to administer CPR.
She said Kuhl had no pulse when she arrived but she and a state trooper who showed up a few minutes later were able to resuscitate him three times.
"He went in and out and in and out the whole time," she said.
The trooper, Tyrone White, has only been on the job a few months and this was his first lifesaving experience. White and Meyer were then joined by off-duty Cook County Sheriff's Deputy Ruben Archilla, who also came along the scene and stopped.
"God put me in the right place at the right time," he said.
White said it was fitting that he, a rookie, and Archilla, a 30-year veteran who plans to retire in October, worked side by side to help the victim, sort of a changing-of-the-guard.
Perhaps not surprisingly, this was not Archilla's first lifesaving experience. In 2001, he received awards for saving a 4-year-old girl from drowning after she wandered into his pool, despite it being properly secured.
In 2003, Archilla stopped to pull a woman and a young boy out of a car that had flipped several times in a crash on I-90 in Des Plaines.
Though he was also off-duty then, Archilla said each time he was simply using the skills he acquired through his sheriff's department training.
"I like to think I made a difference in my 30-year career ... knowing that you gave that person a chance to make something of themselves and live a long life," he said.
Archilla called White and Meyer the real heroes and also credited another civilian who stopped to help, saying the world needs more people like them.
"There's no doubt in my mind that they were instrumental in helping save this man's life," he said. "(White) did not give up on this victim."
Eric Johnston of Rolling Meadows, another passer-by who stopped, said it was "just amazing to see what these guys did" to try to help Kuhl. "People were cheering them on. It was like watching a movie."
Kuhl is the father of identical triplets whose May 2008 birth was widely covered in the Rockford media because they had a rare complication.
Meyer said she went to the hospital later Tuesday to visit with Kuhl's wife, who thanked her for her help.
A woman who identified herself as Kuhl's mother-in-law said she's caring for the triplets while her husband accompanied their daughter to be with Kuhl at the hospital. She said the family was coping and was just waiting for news on his condition.
Archilla said he hopes Kuhl is able to watch the triplets grow up.
"You can never prepare yourself for something like this," Archilla said, "and you can never get used to something like this."