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Tooele County deputy honored for saving 2 people from river while off duty

Posted at 9:43 PM, Jun 18, 2024

TOOELE, Utah — He was in the right place at the right time, and willing to help.

A Tooele County Sheriff's deputy was honored Tuesday for rescuing two people from the Ogden River last month.

On May 19, Deputy James Peasnall was off duty and spending time with his family by the Ogden River when he heard people crying out for help.

“It was pretty scary though when I made that first jump. I was like, 'I don't think I’m going to see my kids anymore.' It’s pretty hard to jump,” recalled Peasnall. “But I knew that guy that was in the water already wasn’t going to see his kids, so I just mustered up the courage and jumped in.”

That day, Peasnall saved a father and son being swept away by the river. At Tuesday night’s Tooele County Council meeting, he was honored.

"For your unwavering commitment to protecting our citizens, even at the risk of your own life,” said council chair Jared Hamner as he read from the plaque presented to Peasnall.

His family and coworkers were in the room, and he received a standing ovation from the audience.

"No candlelight vigils, nothing — because James did what needed to be done that day,” said Tooele County Sheriff Paul Wimmer.

Peasnall’s wife, Tiffany Galloway, was with Peasnall as he rescued that father and son from the river and has been by his side through it all.

“I’m so proud of him,” she said.

With how high rivers are flowing all across the state, Peasnall said he hopes this serves as a reminder to stay safe with the fast-moving water.

“Stay away from the water. It happened so fast, that if I wasn’t there, they’d be gone. It swept them down so fast,” he said.