MA officers honored for saving man stuck up to neck in mud

SHREWSBURY, Mass. (WWLP) – The Worcester County District Attorney recognized four police officers that helped free a man stuck up to his neck in mud earlier this year.

Shrewsbury Police Officers Alex Desimone, Dillon Zona and Tyler Vlass and Sgt. Mark Sklut were awarded the District Attorney’s Team Excellence and Merit – TEAM Award for saving the man’s life.

“Police officers blend problem solving, quick thinking and fast reactions daily. These officers had to act fast and smart when they saw a man sinking deeper into the mud as seconds passed,” Mr. Early said. “Their training, coordination, teamwork and swift response saved a person’s life that day.”

On February 13, Shrewsbury police were called to Flint Pond for a report of a man stuck in mud. The man, identified as 24-year-old Justin Schmautz, and his girlfriend were using a remote controlled boat in the lake when it got stuck in some mud. Justin attempted to go into the mud to grab the boat but got himself stuck in the mud and was quickly sinking in. Within minutes, he went from shin deep to shoulder deep in the mud.

Officer Desimone arrived and realized he could not get out far enough to rescue the man. The officers had to use a ResQ Disc, which is a frisbee-like device use to help people trapped in water.

At this point, Justin was now up to his neck in the mud. Officers threw the disc to Justin and was able to be safely pulled from the mud by the officers.

“I cannot thank them enough. I was so scared. I was so cold. I was in shock at how quickly they got me out. They are the dream team. I am so thankful for them.”

Justin Schmautz

“I am glad we were able to get him out,” Officer Desimone said. “It’s a good feeling to help somebody when they need it.”

“When I arrived on scene that day, I saw my officers working together and as a team to help a person in need,” Shrewsbury Police Chief Kevin Anderson said. “This is why officers serve, to protect people and I couldn’t be prouder of my officers, as I am daily of all of them.”

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