Christopher B. Arias

On the morning of March 11, 2021, a vehicle driven by a man entered the Sacramento River outside Walnut Grove, California. Driving nearby, Christopher B. Arias, a 39-year-old low voltage technician, witnessed the car leave the road and come to rest nearly 75 feet from the river’s bank. Without removing his clothing or boots, Arias entered the water. He swam to the vehicle, which had submerged, and found the man atop the roof of his vehicle. Arias instructed the man, who said he couldn’t swim, to enter the water and float on his back, at which point Arias tried to tow the man to safety, but the river’s current carried them downstream . The man turned over onto his stomach, and the two swam together toward the river’s edge. The two reached wadable water about 200 feet from where Arias had first reached the man. Arias, walking backward, towed the man and laid him down. A nearby bystander brought a garbage bag to place beneath the man’s head, and the two men waited with him until paramedics arrived.