Ascension deputy pulls drowning toddler from pond _lowres

Sgt. Chad Stafford

An Ascension Parish sheriff’s sergeant jumped into a pond Tuesday and pulled a drowning 2-year-old boy from the water.

Sheriff’s Sgt. Chad Stafford, a process server, was trying to serve civil papers Tuesday at the Mansions at Ivy Lakes, a gated apartment complex off Airline Highway just north of La. 621, when he heard the child scream for help.

Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Tony Bacala said an adult also yelled for help as Stafford saw the boy was having trouble in the water.

By the time Stafford got to the pond, the toddler was underwater. Stafford jumped in and pulled the boy to the bank, Bacala said.

Acadian Ambulance arrived later and determined the boy was fine, Bacala said.

“The quick and decisive action of Sgt. Stafford no doubt saved the life of this 2-year-old,” Bacala said in a statement Wednesday. “Sgt. Stafford is to be commended for his actions.”

The person who yelled for help told Stafford later that she had seen the child about 8 feet from the bank, splashing water, then saw him go underwater and not resurface, Bacala said.

Stafford later found the boy’s mother and she told him her 5-year-old must have opened the door to their apartment and gone out with the 2-year-old while she was upstairs.

He said the deputies will refer the incident to state child protection authorities for investigation but criminal charges are not expected.

Deputies did not identify the child.