Wichita police Officer Darren Sundquist says it’s “the unknown” that’s the hardest part about his job.
When he received the call shortly before 10:30 a.m. Friday that a 2-year-old boy had fallen into Gypsum Creek in the 8300 block of East Gilbert, he said he didn’t know what to expect.
Sundquist, after arriving at the scene near Kellogg and Rock Road, ran searching for the boy. With the help of people on the banks, he was able to locate and pull out the submerged boy about 200 yards from where he fell in. The boy was caught on a rock, face down in the 2½- to 3-foot water, he said.
“His lips were extremely blue,” Sundquist said. “I didn’t have any responsiveness out of him.”
Fire department crews arrived shortly thereafter and started doing compressions on the boy. They were able to “get a good amount of water out of him,” Sundquist said.
“His coloring came back really well within the first minute,” Sundquist said, adding that the boy had “very, very good color within two minutes.”
The boy was still in critical condition mid-afternoon at Wesley Medical Center, a hospital spokeswoman said.
His grandfather was babysitting for the day, and the two had decided to go for a walk by the creek, Sgt. Bruce Watts said. The boy slipped down the muddy hill, which was slick from overnight rains, and fell into the brownish water.
His grandfather immediately called 911, though he was so shaken “he was unable to tell exactly what happened,” Watts said.
“He was very shook up,” Watts said, adding that the water was flowing at a “good rate.”
Watts praised Sundquist’s quick response, saying it was “very fortunate he was able to spot the kid in the muddy water.”
A visibly shaken Sundquist, who said he is a father himself, put on his sunglasses for a minute before addressing the media.
“It’s hard when you have kids,” Sundquist said, taking a moment to collect himself. “You care for them and you don’t want anything to happen to them, and at his age, he’s helpless. He was working and fighting, and I was trying to call his name, just to help him see if he could hear and work on his own.
“I want him to pull through. I just did what I could.”