CHP officer awarded Medal of Valor in drowning incident

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Feb. 7—Late last week, a Yuba-Sutter area California Highway Patrol officer was awarded the California Medal of Valor by Gov. Gavin Newsom in recognition of what officials described as an attempted drowning of a young boy in an area of Yuba County by his mother.

CHP Yuba-Sutter Officer Kenny Weckman was given the highest award in the state for his "extraordinary act of heroism" that extended "far above the normal call of duty" to save another human life, according to the CHP.

The incident for which Weckman was honored occurred around 7 p.m. on Dec. 6, 2021. That night, Weckman responded to a call of a vehicle blocking the westbound lane of Woodruff Lane, east of Armstrong Road. According to the CHP, Weckman arrived at the scene and found a 2005 white Dodge Caravan blocking the road on Woodruff Lane near Jack Slough Road.

Once there, Weckman "was contacted by a witness who pointed in the direction of a water filled canal, saying there was a woman over there," the CHP said. According to previous information provided by the CHP, Weckman checked on the vehicle blocking the road and then heard screaming from about 100 yards to the west near an irrigation canal.

Weckman then reportedly found Dobbins resident Taylor Delaine Green, who was 31 at the time, in some weeds adjacent to the canal, the Appeal previously reported. Weckman previously said Green was acting irrational and appeared to possibly be under the influence of a controlled substance.

As Weckman approached Green, it was initially reported that he saw she was holding her 4-year-old son face down and smothering him in the muddy embankment, the CHP previously said. Weckman said as he reached for the child, Green completely submerged herself and her son in approximately 6 feet of water. At that point, Weckman then jumped into the canal and was able to free the child, the CHP said.

"Officer Weckman told her to stop, at which time she pulled the boy underwater with herself in the water filled canal in an attempt to drown him. Without hesitation, Officer Weckman jumped into the six feet of water," the CHP said in a social media post about the incident. "He was able to find the boy underwater and pryed [sic] him from Green's grasp. Officer Weckman pulled the boy, who seemed lifeless above water, and held him in one arm as Green began to attack Officer Weckman and tried to pull him and the boy back under the water. With one hand occupied holding the boy, Officer Weckman fought back, punching Green repeatedly in the face with seeming little effect. The physical fight lasted over four minutes until two responding Yuba County Sheriff Deputies arrived. The entire time keeping the boy above water. During the fight, the boy regained consciousness. The boy was transported to Adventist Health Rideout. The boy was treated and released to his father."

On Dec. 9, 2021, Green pleaded not guilty to various charges related to the incident, including attempted murder. Yuba County District Attorney Clinton Curry previously said she faced life in prison if convicted on all charges.

According to Curry, Green's attorney Mani Sidhu "declared a doubt as to her mental competence at the time of her arraignment." Curry said Green was eventually found incompetent to stand trial on Jan. 26, 2022, and as a result was sent to Napa State Hospital.

Months later in July 2022, Green returned to court after her "competency" had been "restored," Curry said. On Aug. 3, 2022, Curry's office agreed to drop the attempted murder charge against Green for her "straight up" plea to felony child abuse and the other initial charges from the incident, which included resisting arrest/threatening an officer, attempt to remove/take a firearm from a peace officer, and driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

On Oct. 4, 2022, Yuba County Superior Court Judge Julia L. Scrogin sentenced Green to serve five years and four months in state prison.

"It is no doubt that Officer Weckman's immediate action, without backup, without regard to his safety, prevented the death of the boy," the CHP said. "The entire CHP Yuba-Sutter staff is proud to work alongside this real-life hero."