By Ryan Hill

AMADOR COUNTY (CBS13) – A community is grieving the death of a retired sheriff’s deputy who was killed while heading to work.

Former sergeant Mark Lawrence is being remembered for his impact on the community. An Amador County woman says her son wouldn’t be alive if it weren’t for Lawrence.

Tracy Bidwell may have left Ione in her rearview mirror two years ago, but she’ll never forget what happened and who helped her nearly 30 years ago when her infant son stopped breathing.

Tracy Bidwell

“Officer Lawrence was one to arrive at the scene at my home,” Bidwell said. “He took the baby out of my arms and laid him across my dining room table and performed CPR and revived him and his life.”

Retired Sergeant Mark Lawrence, the man who saved Bidwell’s son, died on Route 88 Wednesday morning. He was on his way to work as a court security officer when his vehicle drifted onto a nearby shoulder, veered back into his lane, and ended up in oncoming traffic and hit a big rig head-on, according to the CHP.

It’s a moment too tough to bear for some.

(credit: Amador County Sheriff’s Office)

“Just everything that happened that day when he was at my home…he saved my son’s life,” Bidwell said. “I just couldn’t believe that it was him that was on that car accident.”

Mark Estey worked with Lawrence for more than a decade. He said there wasn’t anyone better to have your back and wear the badge.

“He was a cops’ cop. There’s a guy you wanted to have next to you when you went into a situation, and yeah, he’s going to be missed,” Estey said.

Mark Lawrence was a lawman for nearly three decades, with most of his time spent with the Amador County Sheriff’s Office. One of his former colleagues said they shared the same common name which led to an extraordinary laugh. Estey shared a squad car and many laughs with Lawrence for years. He even remembers the days when he showed Lawrence the ropes when he served in the Sutter Creek Police Department.

Then their roles were reversed at the sheriff’s office.

“I made the jump over there about a year or two after he did and he ended up showing me the ropes over there,” Estey said.

The dedicated and funny lawmen will always be remembered by those he worked with and protected.

“Pride, dedication, and service. That’s Mark,” Estey said.

“He is a true hero to myself and my son in my family without his actions my son wouldn’t have lived that day,” Bidwell said.

The CHP told CBS13 it’s still investigating the cause of the crash. The driver of the big rig was uninjured in the crash.


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