Two Belvidere police officers honored for saving woman and her baby from drowning


Two Belvidere police officers will be honored Thursday in Chicago for saving a mother and her infant from drowning after their car plunged into the Kishwaukee River last year.

On the night of March 21st, 2017, what began as a routine traffic stop for Belvidere Police Officer Joe McDermott escalated into a life-and-death situation after a drunk driver drove her minivan – with her infant daughter inside – into the river.

With the ambient outdoor temperature in the 30’s – and the water, frigid – McDermott quickly leapt into action, wading into the water and swimming out to free the trapped driver.

Officer Ryan Davenport was just moments behind McDermott in responding. When he arrived on scene, he, too, attempted to participate in the rescue and the two officers were able to free both the mother and her infant from drowning.

Both McDermott and Davenport will be honored by the Red Cross at the organization’s 16th Annual Heroes Breakfast at the Hilton Chicago on Thursday morning.

“The American Red Cross is proud to honor the heroes among us whose extraordinary actions have impacted our communities and inspired us all,” said Celena Roldán, chief executive officer of the American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois. “From the nine-year-old girl who rescued her whole family from her burning house, to the police officers who saved an infant in a submerged car, to the young father determined to uplift and encourage other young fathers – this collection of leaders have demonstrated that all have the power to leave an imprint upon the world.”

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