Commonwealth Journal

News Live

July 14, 2014

SHS student perishes in Sunday drowning incident

Somerset —

A Somerset teenager died Sunday afternoon after apparently drowning in the waters of Lake Cumberland.
According to Chuck Godbey, Pulaski County Coroner, Tobias Napier, 18, was the victim of the accident that took place close to 2 p.m. at a boat ramp at the end of Slate Branch Road in southwestern Pulaski.
Godbey said that based on reports from witnesses, Napier was sitting with his legs in the water and slipped off. 
Because he was reportedly not a strong swimmer, noted Godbey, instead of being able to stay afloat, Napier sank to the next level down — which happened to be a very far drop. He then went even deeper after that.
“It just so happened that the ledge he slipped off had a ledge of about 30 feet down, and then another ledge of about 65 feet,” said Godbey. “He slipped in the water and never came back up.”
Godbey said that the cause of death appears to be drowning at this point.
Napier was taken to Frankfort for an autopsy to confirm the circumstances of his death. 
Godbey said it’s not believed that any substance use played a role in the incident.
The coroner noted that Somerset-Pulaski County Rescue Squad members Danny Karriker, Paul Coomer, and Steve Wood went into the water to retrieve Napier and bring him ashore.
Napier was a student at Somerset High School who would have been a senior this coming school year, and the effect of his passing has already been felt by the Briar Jumper community.
“It’s just such a shock, still,” said SHS principal Wes Cornett. “When I got the text and phone call yesterday, it was really hard to process.”
Cornett said that he’d been on vacation and had just returned when he heard the tragic news about the young man that he remembered well.

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