Teenage boy dead after incident in Racine County lake
RACINE - A teenage boy has died after crews pulled him from the water at Quarry Lake Park in Racine County.
South Shore Fire Chief Bill Bouma tells TODAY'S TMJ4 that Travon Gray, 16, was underwater for about 24 minutes.
First responders rushed him to Wheaton Franciscan Medical Center. He died there.
A call reporting the incident came in just after 7 p.m. Sunday.
It came from John Knoch and his son, who won't soon forget what happened.
"I had a hard time sleeping last night," Knoch told TODAY'S TMJ4's Nick Montes. "My stomach's...not right."
Bouma says Gray jumped off a dock and never came up.
It's not clear why he jumped off the pier. He was with at least five other friends, swimming and jumping off the pier.
According to Knoch, the teenagers went beyond the buoys and the swimming area near the beach.
After the first diver got in the water, Gray's body was recovered within four minutes, but he had been underwater for 24 minutes.
There were no lifeguards there at the time.
"As I passed by, one of (the teenagers) asked me, 'Do you think it's safe?' I said, 'No. I don't think it's safe,' " said Knoch.
Ten minutes later, he heard the commotion, then helped with the 9-1-1 call.
"The dispatcher (was) asking a lot of questions. 'What's going on?' (The kids are) just yelling, 'Get here! Get here!' "
Knoch said that Gray's sister and mother rushed to the scene and were very distraught.
"When the mother showed up, she was saying he didn't know how to swim. She told him not to go in...my condolences. I feel really bad."
Bouma says lifeguards were eliminated this year due to budget cuts.
"We've had a number of problems in the past with this lake," Bouma says. "This is a problem lake for us. It's a deep lake. Visibility is terrible and now with no lifeguards it's a real problem."
A mother who knows Gray well talked to TODAY'S TMJ4. She says the boy had also been at Quarry Lake Park with friends Saturday.
He's described as very athletic, and she was shocked to hear he had gone under.