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Suicide Averted Through Prompt Employee Action

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area

National Park News

While conducting a stream survey in the remote Grotto Creek drainage at Circle X Ranch on May 28th, resource management employees Joanne Moriarty and Seth Riley encountered a 33-year-old woman who said that she’d drunk some antifreeze and needed help. They quickly determined that she was depressed and had attempted to commit suicide.  Moriarty stayed with the woman while Riley ran more than a mile uphill along the only available trail to a spot where he could call 911 via telephone. The Ventura County Fire Department responded with an engine and a helicopter; Ventura County Sheriff’s Department deputies and an ambulance were also dispatched. Rangers Darcy MacDonald and Tom Young joined the response. Campground VIP Tony Valois led the county fire engine crew down to the woman. Moriarty in the interim continued to keep her calm until county emergency responders and the helicopter arrived. The woman was hoisted into the helicopter and taken to Los Robles Hospital in Thousand Oaks, where she was treated for ingestion of automotive anti-freeze and alcohol.  She is expected to fully recover. The quick and decisive actions of Moriarty and Riley contributed greatly in assuring that the woman received prompt medical attention, which is crediting with saving her life.  The Ventura County Sheriff's Department is the lead investigating agency in this incident.


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