GONZALES, LA (WAFB) - A 2-year-old boy who wandered out of a Gonzales apartment came within seconds to death on Tuesday, May 13th.
This happened at around 2:45 p.m. at the Mansions at Ivy Lake off Airline Highway. Sheriff Jeff Wiley says it was God's will to have one of his deputies at the scene.
"I'm just tickled to death that I'm standing here for once not talking about some heinous crime or some bad ending," said Wiley.
The Sheriff held a press conference this afternoon to recognize Sergeant Chad Stafford. Sgt. Stafford just happened to be serving paperwork at the complex when he heard a hysterical 5-year-old screaming that her brother wandered into the pond.
The sergeant said all he saw were tiny feet sticking up from the water.
"It was about 75 yards on the other side of the apartment complex, so I ran along the pond on the bank, I don't know how deep the water is, but when I jumped in I remember my face going under water and I didn't feel the ground until I swam toward the bank and got close to the bank. I'm grateful for the recognition, but I did what anybody would have done." said Sergeant Stafford.
The child's mother said she thought she locked the door, but apparently, it didn't latch. The 2-year-old coughed up a lot of water, but is doing fine.
Sergeant Stafford is a Gonzales native, and he is going on 16 years with the Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office.