Watch as Sgt. Rey Rodriguez rescues boy who is trapped by overturned ATV
A quick-thinking Bulloch County sheriff’s deputy was commended for his actions that saved a child’s life after an all-terrain vehicle accident Wednesday.
Sgt. Rey Rodriguez received the Lifesaving Medal from the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday, said sheriff’s Chief Deputy Jared Akins.
Rodriguez was first to arrive at the scene at a Sinkhole Road address around 4:15 p.m. Wednesday, where he found a 10-year-old boy pinned at the neck by a large ATV that had flipped on top of him, he said.
“I was patrolling on the interstate (I-16) when the call came out,” Rodriguez told the Statesboro Herald. “I saw a girl (standing near the ATV) and didn’t know the boy was pinned.”
When he realized the boy was trapped and not moving, “turning blue” and unable to breathe, Rodriguez grabbed a tow strap from his patrol vehicle, attached one end to the ATV and the other end to his patrol car, and pulled the ATV off the boy.
“It would have taken four or five men to move the ATV,” he said. “That thing was huge.”
Akins commended Rodriguez for “acting without hesitation” to save the child.
“EMTs arrived shortly thereafter and stabilized the child prior to flying him to a hospital in Savannah,” Akins said, adding that the child is expected to recover fully.
“Sgt. Rodriguez's quick actions undoubtedly saved the child from death or permanent injury,” he said.
The child, who was alert and talking before the Air Evac helicopter arrived, suffered only scratches and bruises, Rodriguez said.
When asked how it feels to have saved a life, especially a child’s, he was humble.
“I don’t know — everyone else would have done the same thing. I was glad I had the strap in the car,” he said.
Akins said such actions seem to be a habit for Rodriguez, adding that he is “no stranger to heroism on the job.”
“In his time with the Bulloch County Sheriff's Office, he has been awarded multiple commendations for duty, including the Medal of Valor,” Akins said. “He was also honored by the Georgia Sheriff's Association as (2011) Deputy of the Year for his actions after the shooting of a Statesboro police officer by a suspect several years ago.”
That incident occurred in September 2010, when Eric Pringle, a man who reportedly had been acting suspiciously in the Varsity Apartments complex on Rucker Lane, shot Officer Charles Brown, who was responding to reports of a noise violation at the complex. The suspect was reportedly in his car when he fired at the officer.
When Pringle fled, Rodriguez, responding from a nearby location, confronted him. Shots were exchanged, and Pringle was killed.
Brown recovered from his injuries.
“Sgt. Rodriguez is also a veteran and currently serves in the U.S. Army Reserve,” Akins said. “Bulloch County is fortunate to have Rey on duty with us.”
Rodriguez said the boy involved in the ATV accident Wednesday had not been wearing a helmet. The girl at the scene was his sister.
“The boy gets home first and rides the ATV to the bus stop to pick up his sister since they live at a home with a long driveway,” he said.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.