Doctors are crediting the quick thinking of bystanders with saving the life of David “Big Papi” Ortiz after he got shot at a Dominican Republic bar.
The Daily Mail says that local business owner Eliezer Salvador rushed a wounded Ortiz into his Rolls-Royce and drove at 174 mph, hitting other cars on the way. Salvador said that minutes after Ortiz was shot at Dial Bar and Lounge in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, he grabbed the baseball star and put him in his car.
“I never went below 150 kilometers per hour [93 mph]. Not even in the elevated road. And when we got on a good road I hit 280 [174 mph] kilometers per hour,” Salvador said.
Salvador says he started to cry as he assured Ortiz that everything was going to be okay.
“I was the one who said, ‘Papi Papi, Papi.’ And [David] said, ‘I’m here, I’m here.’ I said, ‘No, you’re not going to die, we’re going to get there, we’re going to get there.’ But we stood firm,” Salvador revealed.
He explains that after he got to the hospital, he held Ortiz’s jewelry when he was taken in for care. Salvador says he took a while to calm down after racing to the nearest hospital.
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Salvador was seated near Big Papi in the lounge’s sidewalk seating area when the shooter ran in and shot the future hall of fame member.
Salvador, who is the owner of Presidente Sports, a betting parlor in Santo Domingo, ran to Ortiz’s side as guests started running for cover. The next thing he knew he was lifting the former professional athlete and taking off for his car to drive to Abel Gonzalez Clinic.
Ortiz’s wife, Tiffany, credits Salvador with saving her husband’s life in a public statement.
“I want to take this opportunity to offer our heartfelt thanks and gratitude to Eliezer Salvador, owner of Presidente Sports, for your quick thinking and swift action on Sunday night. Your heroism and selflessness were the first steps to ensuring David could get the urgent care he required. For that, we are eternally grateful.”
Tiffany Ortiz added that Salvador will forever be her family’s “guardian angel.” David Ortiz was flown to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston to recuperate from the shooting.
The Washington Post says when doctors first got to Ortiz, he was pleading for them not to let him die. Jose Smester, the first surgeon on the case, said the big leaguer was in rough condition, but if not for the fast thinking of witnesses, he might have perished.