Two city employees save toddler from drowning, completely by chance


LEVELLAND, Texas — On Wednesday, two Levelland Parks and Cemetery employees were completing maintenance at Lobo Lake when they heard a woman screaming around 2 p.m.

Dustin Reichelt, director of Parks and Cemetery for the city of Levelland, said he and his coworker, Jeremiah Rodriguez, were fixing irrigation lines.

Reichelt said in his six months with the city, he had not gone to the park to work. While working, Rodriguez and Reichelt both heard loud screaming.

“I knew right away by the tone and the way she was screaming, and screaming for help, I knew a kid probably fell in and was drowning,” Reichelt said.

Rodriguez said he felt a rush of adrenaline as he ran from one side of the park to the other. He said he could see the child laying in his guardian’s arms, looking lifeless.

“I drop what I’m doing,” Rodriguez said. “I book it from the building over there to the other side of the lake where it all happened.”

He said he immediately started CPR.

“I get the kid from her. I start performing CPR for about four minutes straight,” Rodriguez said. “My boss, the parks director–he’s on a boat paddling as fast as he can over here. He gets to me in time and he relieves me of CPR.”

By the time first responders arrived, Levelland Police said the child was crying, lethargic, but alive.

“We were just a team, everything was in sync,” Reichelt said. “For the situation, it was almost too good.”

Reichelt said he had difficulty sleeping that night, and Rodriguez said he had not run so fast in his life. He said he learned CPR in high school several years ago.

“It’s CPR , you never think you’re going to use it but, you know, in reality you might have to use it someday to save a person’s life and I’m glad that I did and I was able to save a 4-year-old’s life,” Rodriguez said.

Levelland police said the child was taken to Covenant Hospital Levelland for further evaluation.

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