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Off-duty Park County deputy rescues juvenile trapped in submerged vehicle

(Park County Sheriff's Office)

CASPER, Wyo. — The Park County Sheriff’s Office announced on Thursday that an off-duty deputy rescued a juvenile who was trapped in a submerged off-road vehicle in a canal after a crash in Powell on Sunday.

The off-duty deputy stopped after he saw a passerby signaling for help on Sunday morning.

“He discovered the UTV in the water with the passenger still seat belted in and trapped with just their mouth and nose above water,” the Park County Sheriff’s Office said. “The deputy jumped into the canal, went under the UTV to release the seatbelt, and got the juvenile to shore.”

The juvenile passenger as well as a juvenile who was driving the UTV were both “cold, but uninjured” in the incident. The off-duty deputy was treated for gasoline that got in his eyes from the leaking vehicle once emergency responders arrived on scene.

The off-duty officer had arrived prior to on-duty officers and Powell Ambulance, who responded to reports of the crash at around 11:06 a.m. The crash occurred in the area of Road 11 and Lane 10.

“The responding units learned that an off-road vehicle had crashed into the canal and possibly two juveniles were trapped underwater,” the Park County Sheriff’s Office said. “The vehicle had been traveling eastbound on the canal road at a rate of speed too high to safely complete a right-hand turn.”

“The vehicle entered the canal and collided with the bottom. It then rolled a half-rotation over its front end, causing it to rest on its top side. The entire cab portion of the UTV was underwater. The first unit arrived on scene at 11:11 a.m. and discovered that the juveniles were out of the water.”

The Park County Sheriff’s Office highlighted the bravery of the off-duty deputy.

“This deputy’s decision to react quickly and save the juvenile from possibly drowning showed outstanding courage and decisiveness.” Undersheriff Andy Varian said 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 under review for possible commendation by the Park County Sheriff’s Office.