Note: The following item was provided by the Paulding County Sheriffs Office for publication. – KtE
At a ceremony held on Wednesday October 18, 2023 at the Paulding County Courthouse, two Paulding County Deputies were presented Life Saving Awards by Sheriff Gary Gulledge for saving the life of an elderly Paulding County woman.
On September 27, 2023, Deputy Carlos Ortiz and Deputy Wesley Birjkovff, who are assigned to the Courthouse Security Division, were out in the field following up on individuals who did not show up for Jury Duty.
While they were out in the field, they heard an automobile accident call come out over the law enforcement radio.
Dispatch further advised that one of the vehicles left the roadway and ended up in a pond which was in the area of 2771 Buchanan Highway (GA 120 W). Since Deputy Ortiz and Deputy Birjkovff were in the area, they responded to the scene.
When they arrived, the Deputies confirmed that the passenger car was nearly submerged in the pond and that there was in fact a person inside the vehicle. Deputy Ortiz and Deputy Birjkovff took off their ballistic vests and got into the water where they discovered an elderly female, later identified as Maria Ruch, trapped inside the vehicle.
Unable to get any of the car doors to open, Deputy Ortiz shattered one of the windows with his Asp baton.
Deputy Ortiz and Deputy Birjkovff then noticed that the elderly female only had her nose and mouth above water and that she was unable to exit the vehicle. Both Deputies eventually got Ruch out of the vehicle and up the hill to safety.
Fortunately Ms. Ruch did not sustain any serious injuries in the accident and Deputy Ortiz and Deputy Birjkovff were able to get her out of the vehicle which prevented her from drowning.
Sheriff Gary Gulledge stated, “I am so proud of the fact that no matter what division our Deputies are assigned to, when they hear a call come out, they respond and take immediate action. Because of Deputy Ortiz and Deputy Birjkovff’s quick action, the life of Ms. Ruch was saved. We are all eternally grateful for their quick action and selfless response.”
On behalf of Sheriff Gary Gulledge along with the men and women of the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office, we would like to congratulate Deputy Ortiz and Deputy Birjkovff on receiving the Life Saving Award.