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January 23, 2014
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Video released of dramatic water rescue by Texas cops

Officers were writing reports from their squad when they witnessed a drunk motorist drive into a river

By PoliceOne Staff

AUSTIN — Dash cam footage showing a vehicle driving down a boat ramp and sinking was just released — a traumatic incident that left one passenger dead.

Two officers were writing reports from their squad car in the early morning of July 1, 2012, when they saw a vehicle drive into Lake Birdy, according to KXAN.

Officer Ashley Edwards can be heard on dash cam gasping at the sight of the car plunging into the water, then urging her partner, Officer Matt Judd, to respond.

Driver Madeline Rackley and one passenger escaped the vehicle and came to shore with help from the officers, who dived into the water to help.

Police divers later recovered the vehicle, which contained 25-year-old Ryan Whittington dead in the back seat, according to the report.

Rackley, 25, was charged the next day with intoxication manslaughter; she served 10 days in jail and was sentenced to 10 years of probation.

“We did the best we could,” Edwards told the Austin NBC affiliate in November. “And if I could go back and change it, and have a few more minutes to get inside the vehicle, and realize that someone was back there, then we would have done all we could and hopefully have brought him (Whittington) home as well.”

Edwards and Judd both received medals of valor for their efforts.

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