By Wendy Corr, Cowboy State Daily
There’s no such thing as “off-duty” for some Wyoming law enforcement officers.
On Sunday, an off-duty Park County Deputy Sheriff saved the life of a young person who was trapped underwater in a canal by an overturned off-road vehicle.
According to the Park County Sheriff’s Office, the off-duty officer, who was not named, was flagged down shortly after 11 a.m. by someone signaling for help on a county road near Powell. An ATV had crashed into the canal, and two juveniles were involved in the accident – with one still trapped underwater.
The deputy discovered the vehicle in the water with the passenger still seat belted in and trapped with just their mouth and nose above water. He jumped into the canal, went under the UTV to release the seat belt, and got the young person to shore.
An investigation revealed that the vehicle had been traveling east on the canal road at a “rate of speed too high to safely complete a right-hand turn.” The Sheriff’s office reported that the vehicle entered the canal, collided with the bottom and flipped over its front end, causing it to rest on its top side. The entire cab portion of the UTV was underwater when the deputy arrived.
The officer was treated on scene by EMS for gasoline in his eyes from the leaking UTV; the juveniles were cold, but uninjured.
“This Deputy’s decision to react quickly and save the juvenile from possibly drowning showed outstanding courage and decisiveness,” stated Undersheriff Andy Varian in a department wide email. “Although he was off duty, his decision to move into action exemplifies the standards of the Sheriff’s Office and the duty to protect citizens in Park County.”
The Deputy’s actions are currently under review for possible commendation by the Park County Sheriff’s Office.