Hero or Felon? Police Charge River Guide For Trying To Rescue 13-Year-Old Girl

Ryan Daniel Snodgrass, 28, would be a hero in most people’s book. However, the guide with Arkansas Valley Adventures was arrested by the Clear Creek sheriff’s office after he swam to a stranded 13-year-old rafter who fell off her boat in Colorado. Officers ordered no one to help the young rafter until a county rescue team was ready. Sheriff Don Krueger (left) is reportedly considering additional charges against another guide.

One can certainly understand the frustration of police who do not want more people to become endangered in a rescue. Yet, an arrest seems a bit severe and the guide had a good reason to make contact. Snodgrass was charged with “obstructing government operations” by swimming over to the rafter.

The police department is considering charging another guide with the same offense.

Duke Bradford, owner of Arkansas Valley Adventures, stands by his staff and says that they should not have waited for the county team to make contact: “When you have someone in sight who has taken a long swim, you need to make contact immediately.”

The girl had been missing for 30 to 45 minutes and had just finished swimming a half mile from the spot where the raft capsized.

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21 thoughts on “Hero or Felon? Police Charge River Guide For Trying To Rescue 13-Year-Old Girl”

  1. Don Krueger,

    You are a pathetic excuse of a human. This man risked his life to save this girl. He didnt sit on his fat arse and wait for a qualified team. Any man there, that could swim, and didn’t swim out to try and save this girl is a COWARD!!! If this was your grand daughter or your great great grand daughter… you might have swam your fat arse in there to get her… You are wasting community dollars to prosecute a man that did nothing more than expose the red tape and bullcrap that goes along with decisions like this. This is why there are not as many hero stories.. everyone sits around and waits for someone more qualified to save the life.. The problem is… the victim often dies because of the time it takes for the “proper” team to arrive. I am going to pray tonight that you develope face and arse cancer simultaniously! Have a nice painful next year!!!

    Deeply Sincere,

  2. Cops, strong backs and weak minds. Most cops assume greater power than the state or federal constitutions authorize. By manufacturing crime you keep your crime statistics running high and your budgets fat. Since no one ever counts convictions the local sheriff gets to add to his budget by making up crimes that never happen.

    In this case there seems to be no victim and that is priority one in identifying a crime.

    Hey Sheriff Yahoo, where is the victime? You and the county cannot be the victim if your sole purpose is to manufacture a crimminal comp[laint.

    If it were my daughter I would buying the best legal defense in the country for our families new heroe’s.

  3. Kind of shoots the hell out of good Samaritan Laws if the state has one.
    Kind of shoots the hell out of being a good Samaritan, you might end up with a criminal record for giving a damn ahout a fellow human being.

    Just walk away, turn your back, and wait for the cops to show up.

  4. It may well be that this situation is as simple as it appears. Then again, it may not be.

    I’m familiar with rock climbing safety and rescue, but not whitewater. In climbing, “real” guides have American Mountain Guide Association certification. It’s a multi-year process to achieve that with lots of field testing and training in rescue and first aid. Typically, an AMGA certified guide is going to be better qualified to go to the aid of a stranded or injured person on the side of a cliff than the local volunteer “rescue squad” or local law enforcement. (Places like Yosemite Valley have their own ultra-qualified rescue team, but most areas do not.) Decades of experience has gone into the “official” techniques and practices for mountain/cliff rescue. One key idea is that the rescuer should avoid getting into a situation where (s)he needs rescuing.

    I’m sure that some river guides are very well trained and are the best person on the scene of an accident to make decisions about a rescue. Then again, I get the impression that some river guides are “dudes” (and “dudeettes”) who are passionate about The Dead/Phish, “forest products,” and, uh, what was I talking about.. oh, right, whitewater! awesome… dude… what a rush….

    It’s very probable that this sheriff is just a control freak. It’s also possible that he has reason to believe that the river guides are stoner idiots who are most likely to get themselves in serious trouble by trying to swim out to the victim. The owner of the rafting operation says in the article that his guides have rescue training, but I don’t know enough about whitewater to know what that likely means.

    I’ve climbed the cliffs along Clear Creek downstream from where this took place. Maybe the creek gets more constricted because of the rocks/cliffs, but at least in that area, I would not want to be in that water – it looks very cold and very, very fast.

  5. I applaud Sheriff Don Krueger’s fastidious and hyper-technical efforts to prevent more injury, as well as his punishing a person for performing an heroic act of kindness. Now I just want to know why he didn’t strip to his skivvies and get his fat ass in the water to save that poor little girl. He is a public servant, isn’t he?

  6. W=c,

    Hopefully this heroic (and selfless) individual will get before a judge that has more sense than the arresting officer. Which I’ll stipulate wouldn’t be difficult as Donnie-boy there seems to have little or no sense at all. Especially the sense that a human life has value that supersedes his sense of aww-thor-it-tie.

  7. Wow. Dark times! Smacked down for doing an incredible and right thing…the spirit of the law has been crucified.

  8. AY,

    That may be the best idea I’ve heard today.

    Other than making me Emperor of Known Space.

  9. Why not charge the Officer with dereliction of duty, malfeasance of duty and attempted murder?

  10. Byron,

    You’re right, of course — the government does own our lives.

    Think of government’s refusal to allow terminally ill patients the ability to opt out of excruciating pain and imprisonment in their bodies! Government mandated torture.

  11. AY:

    Bobby Jindal has pleaded with the Army Corps of Engineers for at least a month to let him build berms and Obama as commander in chief could have waived the permit process by executive order. At least it seems logical that he should have that power and head of the military.

  12. Puzzling:

    Excellent point but the state now “owns” that mans life by refusing to let him risk it. It is worse than you point out.

  13. The State has decided that it has the power to decide when – or if – endangered lives should be saved — regardless of voluntary actions by those outside of government!

    I see a qualified death panel candidate in Sheriff Don “Freddy” Krueger.

  14. pardon me, but this is Bull Hockey. Its like waiting for BP to do the next right thing.

  15. Sad to say, but in these times, he’s lucky not to be charged with being a peadophile as well.

    And how dare he swipe all the praise for the rescue from under the noses of the “official” rescue team!

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