August 13, 2013

Gardiner woman rescued after jumping into stream

By Craig Crosby
Staff Writer

GARDINER — A city woman who jumped into Cobbossee Stream Monday was rescued by police and a passer-by.

Neither the woman, a 27-year-old from Gardiner, nor her rescuers were injured during the incident.

A caseworker called police around 10:40 a.m., saying the woman was somewhere near the water and intended to jump. The unidentified woman was unable to swim, Police Chief James Toman said.

Police Sgt. Isaiah Peppard found the woman underneath the Bridge Street bridge near Dennis' Pizza. Peppard, Detective Michael Durham and Toman tried to talk to the woman into retreating from the stream bank while Gardiner firefighters set up with a boat and ropes downstream, which was raging from an abundance of recent rainfall.

"She ended up jumping into the stream," Toman said.

The woman started floating downstream, toward the Kennebec River. She missed a safety rope Durham tossed to her, Toman said, before grabbing hold of a log on an island about 200 feet away from the bridge.

As she tried to stand up, Peppard and Steve Casey, who owns the nearby Depot Sports Pub on Maine Avenue, ran across the stream to help the woman, Toman said. He said the water was below the men's waists, but was running swiftly, which made it difficult to keep a footing on the rocky stream bed. Peppard, Casey and Durham brought the woman back to shore, where she was met by an ambulance.

She was taken to MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta for a psychological evaluation.

Toman said the incident lasted about 15 minutes.

Capt. Marcel DeForge of the Gardiner Fire Department said firefighters were concerned the woman would be swept further downstream.

"With all the rain we've had the stream is moving pretty good," DeForge said. "With the water moving the way it was, we were pretty sure she was going to shoot out into the Kennebec."

DeForge credited Casey, Peppard and Durham with saving the woman from injury.

Craig Crosby — 621-5642

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