Deputy Bryan Gross
Converse County Sheriff’s Office
On July 28, 2011, the Douglas Police Department received a 911 call stating there was a juvenile girl struggling in the water of the North Plate River just below Yellowstone Street Bridge. At the moment Deputy Gross heard the call come over his patrol car radio, he was parked in front of his house as it was time for him to go off duty for the day. Even though he was a minute to being off shift, he responded to the west side of the Platte River and stopped at the end of Pearson Street, which parallels the river.
Deputy Gross exited his vehicle and ran down a steep embankment to the river's edge. Without hesitation, he took off all his patrol gear and then dove into the river in an attempt to help the girl. As he reached the girl who was in the main channel of the river, an eyewitness saw Deputy Gross "literally throw the girl out of the water towards the bank." In the ensuing confusion, Deputy Gross was gone and not seen again.
Although the girl was successfully rescued some distance downstream by other emergency responders, Deputy Gross was not located in the immediate search. His body was located after an extensive 2½-day search by Search and Rescue several miles downstream in the North Platte River.
Due to the excessive amount of runoff and snow pack in Wyoming, the North Platte River during this incident was running approximately two to three times the normal volume of water and was very dangerous and treacherous. Despite this, Deputy Gross without hesitation and at the very end of his shift, entered the water without regard for his own safety and in an attempt to save a young girl, lost his own life.