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A Williams California Highway Patrol Officer who prevented a suicidal woman from plunging off a freeway overpass has received a Certificate of Commendation from State CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley.
CHP Northern Division Assistant Chief, Rob Krider, and Williams CHP Commander, Lt. Dustin Ferguson, presented the commendation to Officer Raymond Close on Feb. 5 at a large gathering of Colusa County’s top law enforcement officers, all of who shared in praise for the officer’s quick and heroic action.
“The efforts that Officer Close did on that day really connect the dots between what we do everyday and the mission of the California Highway Patrol: to save lives and actively save a life,” Krider said. “He made everyone in the highway patrol proud that day. We all take an oath at the academy to never swerve from the path of duty and to put our lives on the line. Those are words, but Officer Close really did it.”
Close was stationed at the Victorville office on Oct. 8, 2019, when he responded to a report of a woman possibly struck by a vehicle.
When he arrived he saw that the distraught woman had climbed onto the outer side of the chain-link fence on the Roy Rogers Drive overpass, above the busy Interstate 15 freeway.
Officer Close immediately reached under the guardrail and grab the woman by her leg just as she flung herself off the fence to what would have been her certain death.
“She jumped and he was able to hang on,” Ferguson said.
The incident occurred shortly before Close transferred to the Williams office. The officer was able to hold the dangling woman until firefighters arrived to cut through the fence and pull her to safety.
Ferguson said such actions are not commonplace in the life of a CHP officer, and commendations from the commissioner are just as rare.
“It doesn’t happen too often, so it’s nice to be able to recognize someone when they step up like this in the line of duty,” Ferguson said. “To get a commendation like this is pretty special.”
Gov. Jerry Brown appointed CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley to the helm of the state law enforcement agency on February 9, 2018, after serving as acting commissioner since August 2017.
This was Stanley’s second nod to the Williams office since his ascent to the top.
“The commendation is well deserved,” Krider said.
Close said he knows very little about the woman whose life he saved, but he had heard she received the help she needed to move forward in life.
“I wish her well,” Close said.
Officer Close, who lives in Cottonwood with his wife, Braidyn, has been with the CHP only 3.5 years. The couple was married about six months after he was sworn in.
“I wasn’t surprise that he would do that,” Braidyn said about her husband’s heroic actions. “But it’s nice that others see what he is capable of and that he got the recognition. I know what he is capable and I am always proud of him.” ■
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