Two People Have Drowned in Woodward Reservoir in One Week

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STANISLAUS COUNTY — Cris Sandoval says her day of family fun at Woodward Reservoir turned into a rush to help a stranger Wednesday afternoon.

“I know I did what I could when I got to her,” Sandoval said. “I kind of knew she was already gone.”

Sandoval says she ran to the shore and found an unconscious woman. She performed chest compressions aided by a 911 operator while the woman’s 10-year-old daughter remained by her mother’s side.

“She was crying for her mom, ‘Bring her back. Wake up,'” Sandoval said.

Cortney Modena told FOX40 off camera that her sister Stephanie drowned. She said Stephanie had been swimming with her daughter, trying to get to an island, when she had a panic attack.

“She was less than a hundred yards offshore when she began to struggle and she, unfortunately, drowned,” Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Sergeant Joshua Clayton said.

Clayton said Stephanie Modena is the second person to drown in Woodward this week. The first was a man from the Bay Area who hit the water around 2 a.m. Sunday.

“Even if you’re a proficient swimmer, make sure you have some type of flotation device or you have a spotter from the shore that’s watching you,” Clayton said.

Cortney said their family had lost their Butte County home in the Camp Fire. Now, they’ve lost a loved one.

“At that point, my concern was the little girl. She’s gonna have that last memory of her mom,” Sandoval said. “It was more devastating seeing that little girl just holding her hand, wouldn’t let go of her.”

Sandoval said she did her best to save the woman’s life, as did other good Samaritans who rushed to help.

Clayton said another man nearly drowned Wednesday in Riverbank, though deputies were able to save him.


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