Moments earlier, O’Brien, 26, had spotted the boy running around the intersection of River Road and Miner Street in Des Plaines. He got out of his car about 3:30 p.m. and tried to cajole the boy to safety. No parents were in sight, and dozens of other motorists had passed by without doing anything, O’Brien said.
“He picked up a chunk of snow the size of a football and took off running,” said O’Brien, who chased the boy. The boy scurried down to the concrete embankment of the Des Plaines River, hurled the chunk of snow in the water and stood there mesmerized for a moment. Then he jumped in after it, O’Brien said.
O’Brien, trailing the boy by a few feet, could see the boy’s orange Bears cap beneath the river’s surface, and he jumped in the water, which came up to his waist.
The boy’s hand broke the water’s surface. O’Brien grabbed it and carried the hysterical boy to his SUV and blasted the heat. O’Brien’s girlfriend calmed down the boy by introducing him to the couple’s 10-month-old puppy, Shandy, a border collie/lab mix.