LCPD officers recognized for their heroism

Published 3:59 pm Friday, May 10, 2024

Lake Charles Police officers are being recognized for saving a woman trapped in a submerged car.

Lt. Jeffrey Keenum said just after 7 p.m. on April 16, Cpl. James Gruspier was patrolling near the 400 block of River Road when he discovered a small silver sedan partially submerged in the river and would later learn a female occupant was trapped inside.

“Cpl. Gruspier notified dispatchers of this situation and entered into the river and swam to the submerged vehicle,” Keenum said.

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He said Gruspier climbed onto the hood and made contact with the terrified occupant as the cabin of the vehicle began to fill with water.

While Gruspier was assisting the vehicle’s occupant with entering into the rear seat of the submerged vehicle, Sgt. Ryan Magee and Officer Brennan Hoover arrived on the scene. Magee, a member of the LCPD’s Marine Division, quickly assessed options on how to rescue the occupant as the submerged vehicle was being swept into the current and drifted further from the shore, Keenum said.

He said Magee utilized a personal floatation device and he and Hoover entered into the river and swam to the submerged vehicle. Officer Caden Barrow would arrive a short time later and he, too, entered into the river and began to swim towards the submerged vehicle.

“As officers arrived at the submerged vehicle, efforts were made to extract the occupant and they learned she could not swim,” Keenum said. “As the occupant began to panic, Sgt. Magee and Cpl. Gruspier grabbed the occupant’s arms and were able to remove her from the quickly sinking vehicle. Officers formed a circle around the vehicle’s occupant, swimming her to shore safely.”

Chief Shawn Caldwell commended the officers for their selflessness.

“I am very proud of these officer’s actions,” he said. “We never know what we are going to face or when.  These officers, without hesitation, jumped into the river to save a stranger, and had they not acted immediately, we would have lost someone.  I know that they saved a life that day.”