By Bob Balgemann


MACHESNEY PARK – Mayor Jerry Bolin and Winnebago County Sheriff Gary Caruana have paid tribute to two deputies for recently putting their own lives at risk to save another.

Deputies Andrew Baylor and Tom Morrison entered the Rock River, near the Frank Bauer Parkway Bridge, early June 9 to save a woman, who had jumped as they arrived.

They were responding to a 9-1-1 call from a passer-by, who reported seeing the woman straddling the bridge.

Mayor Bolin and Sheriff Caruana presented various commendations to the deputies at the June 15 Machesney Park Village Board meeting.

Also present were a number of high-ranking sheriff’s officials including Sgt. Doug Bushman, supervisor of the deputies who provide law enforcement services to the village.

Caruana said he was proud of the professionalism demonstrated by the two deputies. “That woman lives because of what you did,” he said.

Mayor Bolin read from a newspaper article, which quoted a news release from the sheriff’s office that carried details of the rescue.

Morrison was the first to enter the river, but realized the woman had floated too far south for a rescue to be attempted at that location.

Baylor went in next, taking a buoy from a nearby pontoon boat and using it as a floatation device, He finally caught up with the woman in the center of the river.

There was more help in the rescue, from a nearby resident who used his boat to carry additional deputies onto the river/ They were successful in pulling Baylor and the woman out of the water and bringing them to shore.

The woman was taken to a nearby hospital for observation. Neither deputy was injured during their heroic efforts.

Caruana stated in the release that Baylor and Morrison had done an outstanding job in the line of duty.

The deputies received a round of applause from those in attendance at the village board meeting.



Bob Balgemann photo

Winnebago County Sheriff Gary Caruana (second left) commends deputies Tom Morrison (second from right) and Andrew Baylor (right) for saving a life June 9 when they rescued a woman from the Rock River. Listening are Machesney Park Mayor Jerry Bolin (left) and the deputies’ supervisor, sheriff’s Sgt. Doug Bushman (center).


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