When David Ortiz found himself with a bullet wound that went through his back and out his stomach, he needed to get to the hospital immediately.
Eliezer Salvador was right there for him. The longtime friend of Ortiz, who was operating the vehicle that transported the three-time World Series Champ to the hospital, recalled the scary details of what went on to get Big Papi to his destination.
“I told him, ‘You don’t die on me,’” he recalled Monday.
Salvador, an acquaintance of Ortiz’s, was at Dial Bar and Lounge Sunday night when gunfire sent people running in all directions. Salvador said he heard a single gunshot – “Pow!” – and then saw smoke.
Ortiz tried to run, but fell to the ground.
“He tried to run, just like everyone else, but with the impact from behind, he fell,” Salvador said in a phone interview, conducted in Spanish.
“Let’s go,” he told him. He got Ortiz into the backseat, but his car was trapped between two others, so he hit both of them to get out.
“I hit the front, I hit the back, to open up space,” he said.
Savador would then take off towards to the hospital, stating he hit speeds up to 120 MPH “during the six- to seven-minute ride.”
“Ortiz asked to go to the Centro de Medicina Avanzada Dr. Abel González, Salvador said.
“I told him, ‘Let’s go to a closer hospital that’s very good,’ but he said no,” Salvador said.
Ortiz worried he had been shot twice, but Salvador reassured him he was going to make it.
“I opened his shirt and said, ‘Look, it was just once, it came out, it was a clean shot,’” he said. “’You’re going to be fine, you’re not going to die.”
Even though Ortiz was conscious throughout the ride, he began to weaken by the time they finally arrived to the hospital.
“Ortiz never cried out in pain, Salvador said.
“He never talked about death,” he said. “I told him not to worry about it, that it wasn’t going to kill him.”
Ortiz said he had no idea why he was shot, Salvador said.
When they got to the hospital, Salvador helped undress him and made sure to take special care of Ortiz’s diamond-encrusted jewelry, as well as his blood-soaked clothing.
There were no doctors present when they arrived at the hospital, only nurses, he said.
“They were waiting for the doctor,” Salvador said.”
As many people has stated before, Salvador did not believe this had anything to do with a robbery.
“This wasn’t a robbery,” Salvador said. “This was someone who went there to kill.”
Ortiz has since been flown to Boston for more treatment and is said to be “resting carefully” and even took his first steps since being shot.