South Bend Police Officer saves 5-year-old from Saint Joseph River

A 5-year-old boy was rescued by a South Bend Police Officer from the Saint Joseph River at Howard Park.

Indiana Conservation Officers say the boy is autistic and sprinted away from his mother when they were on LaSalle Friday evening. She was carrying a 3-month-old, which made her unable to keep up, and she lost sight of the boy.

South Bend Police Officer Spitaels saw the boy in the Saint Joseph River and knew he had to act fast. Spitaels jumped into the river in full police gear and saved the 5-year-old before he reached the low head dam just downstream.

A press release from the Indiana DNR Law Enforcement District 1 made the following statement:

“Officer Spitaels exemplifies what it means to be a police officer by taking extreme risk to his own life to save the life of another. His actions are nothing short of heroic. Indiana Conservation Officers commend him for his bravery.”