NewsPositively Utah


Young boy, UHP sergeant continue friendship years after rescue from near-drowning

Posted at 4:24 PM, Jul 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-20 08:51:27-04

CENTERVILLE, Utah — An 8-year-old South Jordan boy shares a strong bond with a Utah Highway Patrol sergeant after a terrifying event in 2016.

“[Coleman] has a Highway Patrol hat that hangs above his bed and a Highway Patrol badge that he keeps in his little special box,” said Coleman’s mother Annie Ross.

Annie credits a UHP sergeant for helping save Coleman's life after a near-drowning.

"It’s not chance! We don’t think it’s chance that Sgt. Neff happened to be literally around the corner,” Annie said.

When Coleman was three, he was swimming with his cousins in Centerville. He went underwater. When he came up, the young boy was blue and unconscious.

At the same time, Sgt. Chamberlin Neff was off duty and driving home and just happened to be listening to the local dispatch.

Within 30 seconds, Sgt. Neff was helping bystanders revive Coleman.

"It is one of the greatest events that I’ve ever had, not only in my career but in my life,” Sgt. Neff said.

Last week marked five years since the rescue.

"Coleman is completely fine. He is completely fine. He shouldn’t have been able to be revived and he was revived. He should have had neurological damage and he doesn’t have neurological damage,” Annie said.

After Coleman was released from Primary Children’s Hospital, a deep friendship formed between the sergeant and the boy.

"Coleman is different,” Sgt. Neff said.

For Halloween, Coleman dressed up as Sgt. Neff. They celebrate birthdays together and constantly spending time at the other’s home. Coleman calls Sgt. Neff his hero.

“He’s nice and kind to everyone,” Coleman said.

"What has been such a tragic thing initially has turned out to be a great positive experience,” said Sgt. Neff.

Coleman aspires to be a trooper when he grows up so he can help other people.