Wednesday, September 19, 2018
Public safety

Pasco deputy who rescued drowning man: ‘Adrenaline kicked in’

HOLIDAY — As soon as he heard the call for a drowning, Deputy Taylor Grant stopped listening to the details.

All the 24-year-old Pasco County sheriff’s deputy wanted to know was where, when and how to get there.

He found out soon enough. His fast thinking Thursday may have helped save a man discovered unconscious at a home on Green Key Road at about 8 a.m., held above the surface by his wife in a stretch of water near Cross Bayou and the Gulf of Mexico.

Juan Munoz-Valencia, 51, was in critical condition Friday at North Bay Hospital.

"Adrenaline kicked in, and training kicked in," Grant, who has been a deputy for about 18 months, told reporters at a Friday news conference held at the sheriff’s headquarters in New Port Richey. "There was no fear that I had."

His biggest concern was that the property was gated and emergency medical technicians could be shut out from the scene. Grant scaled a 10-foot brick wall to reach Munoz-Valencia.

After he climbed the wall, Grant sprinted across five acres before he saw the man and his wife, who was screaming for help. Munoz-Valencia was trapped between a sea wall and a floating dock, and his wife couldn’t pull him out of the water.

Grant grabbed the man, laid him on the dock and began pumping his chest. Suddenly, the man’s eyes opened, and he groaned.

The deputy rolled him on his side and asked for his name, birthday and whether he was okay. As he pressed his hand along the man’s back and side, Grant said he could feel fluid in the man’s chest cavity.

"I just wanted him to keep talking and stay awake with me," the deputy said.

Paramedics arrived and took the man to the hospital. He had been in the water for about 30 minutes, officials said.

"I got to see that my job does make a difference," Grant said.

The deputy said he is keeping Munoz-Valencia in his thoughts and looks forward to hearing from him.

Contact Justin Trombly at [email protected] Follow @JustinTrombly.

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