police lights

Police lights

Telecommunicators dispatched information about a young child running down U.S. 70 near Holiday Park Road in Hillsborough at about 4:30 Sunday afternoon. Deputies with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office heard the radio traffic and happened to be nearby. Hillsborough Police Department officers were clearing from other calls and also responded.

With the help of witnesses in the area, Deputies Joseph Winecoff, Chad Boggs, Brian Cates, and Corporal Jeff Jenkins located the seven-year-old child and his 22-year-old sister in a pond behind the Moose Lodge. The sister was struggling to pull her sibling out of the water. Deputy Winecoff entered the pond and pulled them both to safety.

During the course of these efforts, deputies learned the child is non-verbal and has other special needs. Because the child is a minor and out of respect for the family’s privacy, the child's identity will not be made public at this time.

The Orange County Sheriff's Office will be presenting Deputy Winecoff with a lifesaving medal for his efforts at the agency’s next awards ceremony. 

“I am so glad the child is OK and I am grateful to Boggs, Cates, and Jenkins," Deputy Winecoff said through a statement released through the Sheriff's Office. "They all played a huge part in this rescue. I am just the one that got wet. I also want to stress how important the sister’s efforts were. She kept her brother from going under the water and gave us the necessary time to locate them and pull them from the pond before events turned tragic.”

"This is an example of why great working relationships with our neighboring law enforcement agencies are so important," said Orange County Sheriff Charles Blackwood. "When seconds matter, we respond as one."