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Off-duty Calif. deputy saves 3 ATV crash victims

Deputy Kevin McCarthy and a friend saved 3 people, one of whom had severe injuries

atv crash.jpg

A crash victim is helped by an off-duty deputy after his ATV overturns into the water.

Photo/Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office

Deke Farrow
The Modesto Bee

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — An off-duty Stanislaus County sheriff’s deputy and a Ripon man saved the lives of three people whose ATV crashed over an embankment and overturned into water in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta late last month, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The rescue occurred Sunday, July 26, the Stockton area CHP office posted on Facebook on Tuesday. Jason Buffalow was boating with Deputy Kevin McCarthy and others when Buffalow’s son spotted the crash and cried out.

Seeing a cloud of dust on the river bank, Buffalow brought his boat side to side with the crashed ATV, the post says. An adult female driver and two passengers — an adult male and a 12-year old female — had been riding in the vehicle.

Buffalow and McCarthy jumped into the water and swam to the crash victims, the post says. McCarthy got the man to shore and determined he had “severe injuries to his right arm and leg that could be life threatening if quick action wasn’t taken,” the CHP reported.

Sheriff’s Department spokesman Sgt. Tom Letras told The Bee that McCarthy and the others on the boat first noticed the woman and girl, who were trapped upside down in the ATV, their heads just touching the water.

As the deputy was assessing the scene, he then spotted the man, who’d been ejected from the vehicle. The man’s foot was partially severed and he was losing a lot of blood, Letras said. Further assessment showed the man’s arm had been partially degloved, exposing tissue and bone, the sergeant said.

McCarthy asked to be thrown life vests, and he turned two of them and PVC pipe into makeshift tourniquets. “It was determined later that the usage of these tourniquets saved the man’s life,” the post says.

The deputy also splinted, and perhaps applied a tourniquet to, the man’s arm, Letras said. “Talking with the Stockton CHP, they said the guy would probably not have survived (without McCarthy’s aid), based on where they were and the severity of his injuries,” Letras said.

Buffalow aided the woman and girl. He was able to unfasten their seat belts and pull both to safety, the CHP reported. “Without the efforts of these two brave men, 3 lives would’ve been lost,” the post says.

Information on the location of the crash and the identities and conditions of the victims was not immediately available.

©2020 The Modesto Bee (Modesto, Calif.)