Officers Say Alert Woman Probably Saved Intoxicated Man’s Life at Lake Natoma

FOLSOM -- State wildlife officers are saying one quick-thinking woman in Folsom who made a call to authorities likely saved a stranger’s life.

It was a water rescue that never happened.

“He was just kind of going under and then coming back up and really struggling to make it out to the big rocks in the middle of the river,” said Folsom resident Lisa Shifflet.

Shifflet came to Lake Natoma with her family Sunday when she noticed a man who she says was stumbling while holding a beer and, at one point, collapsed on his face.

She also noticed as the man began to wade farther out into the water.

“As I was watching him I just kept thinking, ‘Somebody needs to do something because this is not going to end well,’” Shifflet told FOX40.

It was a difficult choice but ultimately, fearing for the man’s safety, she decided to call Folsom police who sent out state wildlife rangers and lifeguards.

A cell phone video appears to show the man even had trouble standing up as they responded.

“That call that she made for him pretty much probably saved his life,” said Sgt. Eric Dales with the Folsom State Recreation Area.

Another concern Shifflet had was that if the man did appear to be drowning, another person might have jumped in and risked their own life to save his.

Dales confirmed the man was intoxicated and fit the profile of someone who might have needed a drowning rescue had rangers not gotten to him in time.

“He was unsteady on his feet,” Dales explained. “He wasn’t swimming very well with water levels right now being very high.”

Sgt. Dales said he hopes in the future others respond like Shifflet did.

“They might see something and they say, ‘Oh, maybe somebody else has already called,’” he said. “Those calls, if we get multiple calls, that’s what we want.”

The man wasn’t cooperative and was ultimately arrested for public intoxication.

Shifflet said looking at her own family, she knows she made the right call.

“I have two sons and if that was one of my sons out there drunk on the rocks, I hope they never will be, but if they were, I’d want someone to do the right thing and call. Because I would rather them get in trouble with the law then have a knock on my door that they had drowned,” she said.

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