Greenfield Police officer rescues unresponsive man from Green River

Franklin County

Photo: Greenfield Police Department

GREENFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A Greenfield Police officer is being recognized for saving an injured man who was found unresponsive in the Green River. 

On Saturday, August 10, Greenfield Police were called to investigate suspicious activity involving two men who were allegedly trying to take something from someone in a vehicle near the area of Deerfield and Meade streets.  

Officers Justin Purinton and Patrick Merrigan, along with Sgt. Stephen Westerling responded to the call. Upon arrival, Officer Purinton spotted a man fully submerged and not moving in the Green River just off Meade Street. 

According to the department, Officer Purinton immediately notified the other officers and requested additional emergency response before jumping into the river and pulling the man out of the river. 

The man coughed up large amounts of water and was eventually able to breathe on his own. Police say he sustained other possibly related injuries. He was taken to Baystate Medica Center in Springfield where he was treated and released. 

Our officers are regularly performing and assisting in heroic and lifesaving acts. We do not always publicly recognize them when we should. In this instance Officer Purinton made keen observations and took swift and decisive actions while risking his own well being. There is no doubt in my mind that he saved this individual’s life. This is one of the many things that makes being a police officer the best job in the world. I thank and commend Officer Justin Purinton, and it is a privilege to know that he and the other members of our team are here for the safety and well-being of all in our community. 

Greenfield Police Chief Robert Haigh

Police are still trying to determine how the man got into the Green River and the original report of two men attacking someone in a car is still being investigated.

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