Two officers recognized for saving swimmer in Little Miami River

Posted at 10:06 AM, Jul 08, 2013

Officials recognized two police officers who risked their own lives in the rescue of a swimmer in the Little Miami River in June.

Hamilton County Sheriff's deputy Nick Hoevel and Mariemont Lieutenant Tom Ostendarp were dispatched to the river for a report of two swimmers stranded in the water on June 11. When they arrived the officers located swimmer Tim Sheppherd holding onto a rope in the river, according to reports.

"Deputy Hoevel and Lieutenant Ostendarp took off their gun belts, bullet proof vests and entered the water up to their necks without any regard for their safety in an attempt to save the life of Mr. Shepperd,” said Mariemont Mayor Dan Policastro.

An extensive search for the second swimmer, Otis Andrews, 19 of Norwood, was made. Andrews was presumed to have been swept away.

"There was still question of where he was at the time and we did make quite an effort to try and find him as well. It was very sad," said Lt. Ostendarp.

Deputy Hoevel and Lt. Ostendarp were recognized with an Award of Merit for Valor at the Mariemont council meeting Monday night.

"The support that we've got is tremendous. We do this job not for recognition but to help people, and to be recognized this way is very humbling," said Officer Hoevel.

Both men said they'd do it all over again.

9 On Your Side Reporter Amy Wadas contributed to this report.