Ore. deputy drowns while trying to help child

Officer Courtney Couch was paddle boarding when she fell into the water and did not resurface, police said

By Louis Krauss
The Register-Guard

FOSTER, Ore. — A deputy with the Lane County Sheriff's Office drowned Sunday while paddle boarding at Foster Reservoir in Linn County.

Lane County Sheriff's Office identified the deputy Monday as Courtney Couch, a 36-year-old deputy who had served in the position for seven years.

Couch was paddle boarding and attempting to help a young child when she fell into the water and did not resurface, according to a news release from the Linn County Sheriff's Office. Couch was not wearing a life jacket, according to the release.

Bystanders found Couch and brought her to the surface, where Linn County deputies and paramedics performed CPR and life-saving procedures, but she did not survive, according to the release.

"The circumstances of how she fell in the water are not extremely clear at this point," said Sgt. Thomas Speldrich, a spokesperson for the Lane County Sheriff's Office.

Couch was recreating with her family at the reservoir when the accidental drowning happened, according to the release.


According to the Linn County release, deputies responded to a call just before 2 p.m., with the caller saying Couch had not been seen for minutes with multiple people searching.

After being lifted onto the boat, Couch was transferred to Sweet Home medics who transported her to the Lebanon Community Hospital, where she was later pronounced dead, according to the Linn County Sheriff's Office.

Couch was an Army veteran, and during her time at the Lane County Sheriff's Office she worked in a multitude of roles such as corrections security, court transportation and patrol. The sheriff's office said "despite her professional successes, Courtney's No. 1 priority was raising her young son."

"Courtney has many friends and family that are devastated by her loss," the sheriff's office wrote in its release. "Courtney was a very loved member of the sheriff's office family. Her sudden and tragic death has knocked the wind out of us."

Any witnesses who left prior to being interviewed are encouraged to call deputy Stuart Spangler at the Linn County Sheriff's Office at 541-967-3950.

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McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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