Ateenage girl survived a chilly fall Tuesday from the 10th Street bridge into a swift and frigid Bear Creek.
Medford police Officer Randy Jewell was patrolling the area near Hawthorne Park when he heard a report of a young girl who was on the outside of the bridge rail.
He drove to the bridge and saw the girl hanging from the rail, clearly a dangerous situation.
"I was about 15 feet from her when she just let go," Jewell said.
The girl tumbled more than 30 feet into the creek and was washed 40 feet in the current.
"She was sitting on her bottom with the water up to her chest," Jewell said. "I didn't want her to stay in that position very long."
Jewell sprinted down to the creek and waded into the current to pull the girl to shore.
"I didn't notice how cold the water was because of all the adrenaline," Jewell said.
Medford police Chief Tim George arrived on the scene shortly after the rescue. He didn't mince words about Bear Creek's temperature in February.
"That is some cold, cold water," George said. "You don't want to stay in it very long."
Paramedics placed the girl on a stretcher and pulled her up a steep slope to the Hawthorne Park parking lot. She was loaded into an ambulance and driven to Rogue Regional Medical Center for treatment.
The extent of her injuries was not known, police said.
"She will live to tell the tale, but it could have ended badly," George said.
Jewell said the girl never lost consciousness and was talking to officers and paramedics.
The 15-year-old Talent girl is believed to be suffering from depression and the incident was a suicide attempt, Medford police said.
The girl's parents were notified about the attempt and they joined her at the hospital. The girl remained in the hospital late Tuesday night in stable condition, police said.
George said the girl is lucky to be alive.
"That water, especially this time of year, is cold and moving very fast. Also, there are obstacles just below the surface that you can hit after falling at least 30 feet."
Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 541-776-4471 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.