Athens Review, Athens, Texas

May 13, 2013

Drowning claims two adults; child hospitalized

Janet Jacobs
The Athens Review

CORSICANA — Corsicana — Two adults drowned and one child was flown to a Dallas hospital by air ambulance after a boat capsized in a stock tank Saturday off Northwest County Road 1146, a few miles outside of Emhouse.

Fernando Rodriguez, 43, and Francisco Perez, 25, both of Dallas, were declared dead at Navarro Regional Hospital Saturday evening, according to Justice of the Peace Connie Hickman. A 2-year-old was flown by air ambulance to a Dallas hospital. The two men apparently drowned while trying to find the toddler, she said.The identities were withheld over the weekend so the families could be notified. The condition of the child was unavailable Monday.

The drownings took place Saturday afternoon on property owned by Refugio Rodriguez of Dallas, who uses the property for weekend getaways, according to neighbors, JoAnn and Paul Shasta.

Like the Shastas, the Rodriguezes have owned their property about 13 years.

The scene Saturday was idyllic, if not for the teams of emergency responders. The pond sits alone in a green pasture, less than 100 yards off the gravel road near the bend of CR 1145. Mesquite trees offered shade from the dam, and the entrance to the property is marked with a massive brick and metal barred gate. A horse trailer and horses sat underneath some nearby trees, next to an SUV and a pickup truck.

Six people were on the 14-foot aluminum boat when it tipped over, according to Sheriff Elmer Tanner. Three of the four children were successfully pulled from the water without any injury.

The two adults were found much later, one man after being in the water more than an hour. Recovery crews had to drag the water for the last body, moving their way slowly through the water until he’d been found.

Responding to the rescue were teams from Emhouse, Barry, Blooming Grove volunteer fire departments, as well as State Game Wardens, and Corsicana Fire and EMTs.