Athens teen drowns in Coleman Park

Posted by : admin | On : May 11, 2017

The News Staff Reports
ATHENS–A night of swimming in Coleman Park in Athens went tragic May 4 when a 19-year old drowned while swimming to an island in the pond.
A water rescue team from the Longview fire department retrieved the dead body of James Riley Wallace, of Athens, from the water. His mother and family was brought to the scene a short time later to grieve the loss of their loved one.
According to Athens police chief Buddy Hill, the group of teens, two male and two female, were fishing at the pond in Coleman Park on the north west side when Wallace decided to swim to the large island in the lake. Wallace only made it about halfway before the cold water made the swim difficult and he went under.
According to reports the other male attempted to swim out to Wallace but quickly experienced exhaustion and had to return to shore.
The Athens Fire Department and Athens Police Department immediately responded to the 9-1-1 call at about 8 p.m. and begun searching for the teen while swimming and manning the AFD rescue boat until the water rescue team arrived from Longview at 11:20, and located Wallace’s body 12:53 a.m. Friday morning. Water temperature was measured at 54 degrees Fahrenheit.
A helicopter from East Texas Medical Center flew over the water to spot the teen as water rescue attempts were made.
Foul play is not expected, but Justice of the Peace Milton Adams sent the body off for an autopsy to American Forensics in Mesquite.
The pond was created from an old clay pit and has long had a pier on the south side for fishing. The pier was recently damaged by a fire and closed off. Swimming is not permitted in the pond.