GLOCESTER – Glocester native Stephen Arsenault might be referred to as a hero by some. He was recently awarded Cobb County, Georgia’s First Responder Award for Service Above Self. It was the second time in four years he has earned that recognition.
According to accounts from the Cobb County Police Department, on () April 7, 42 year old Latoysha Virgil was scheduled to appear in the Cobb County Superior Court’s mental health court when she abruptly left the courthouse and escaped into a nearby storm drain.
“She ran down seven flights of stairs and out the door,” recalls Arsenault, who is a deputy sheriff sergeant for the Cobb County Sheriff’s Department.
She then spotted a culvert drain and crawled in approximately 100 feet before getting trapped.
That is where Arsenault came in. He explains that the fire department couldn’t go after her because she was up on criminal charges. The 5’7″, 165 lb. Arseneault donned safety gear, including an oxygen mask, and began crawling into the drain to pull Virgil out of the 24-inch diameter pipe. The fire company also pumped oxygen into the drain, which had only 19 percent oxygen at first.
“It was unlike anything I have ever done before,” said Arsenault. “It got smaller as I crawled forward.”
Eventually, Arsenault reached Virgil and managed to remove her.
“It happened to be on opening day for the Atlanta Braves,” he added.
Arseneault was scheduled to be in the Padres Box at Truist Park for security reasons, a regular assignment for him.
“My uniform was ruined,” he laughed. “So that didn’t happen. Just a normal day.”
Arsenault, 46, didn’t seem fazed at all with the challenge. He served in the Military Police for 10 years before accepting a position at the Cobb County Sheriff’s Department in 2007. The son of Richard and Nancy Arseneault of Glocester, he is a 1994 graduate of Ponaganset High School. He also received a First Responder Award in 2019 for saving a life.