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Published on February 26, 2024
Sonoma County Deputies Perform Bold Rescue in Russian River, Suspect Accused of Assaulting Sergeant During OrdealSource: Sonoma Sheriff

In a daring river rescue, two Sonoma County deputies braved the cold and fast-moving Russian River to save a struggling woman's life. On February 25 around 4:20 PM, dispatch received a 911 call reporting that someone was being swept down the river near Johnson’s Beach in Guerneville, said the Sonoma Sheriff's Office.

The first deputy on the scene, Sgt. Gary Lawson spotted the individual, later identified as Lacey Mosher, in the river where Fife Creek meets the rushing waters. Lawson didn't hesitate and went into the water after discarding his gear, while Deputy Anthony Powers supported him by throwing a lifeline—a life vest—which Lawson donned during the effort. Mosher, however, began to resist, assaulting the sergeant, complicating the already risky endeavor.

Deputy Cody McCready joined in, swimming out to aid Lawson in controlling Mosher as they clung to a bush off the riverbank. Both deputies struggled with Mosher, who continued to fight even as they were trying to save her. With the current too strong to swim back, the situation was becoming increasingly perilous.

Help arrived when the Sonoma County Fire District firefighters made it to the scene with a boat. They had to carry out the rescue in stages due to the boat's small size, first bringing Mosher ashore and then, returning for the deputies. Sgt. Lawson had been in the water for approximately 25 minutes; according to the sheriff's office, both he and Deputy McCready were treated for exposure right on the shore.

Following the incident, Lacey Mosher was taken to a local hospital for treatment, where she continued her combative behavior with first responders and medical staff. She is set to face multiple charges for her actions during the ordeal. Sheriff Eddie Engram commended the deputies' actions in a statement, saying, "In line with our culture of service over self, Sergeant Lawson and Deputy McCready heroically risked their lives to save someone," and praised them as exemplars of the values of a Sonoma County sheriff’s deputy.

Collaboration was key in the rescue with acknowledgment also given to partner agencies, including the California Highway Patrol, for their response and assistance.