Accident At James River Leaves Teen in Serious Condition

By: Autria Godfrey
By: Autria Godfrey

August 14, 2006

Albemarle County police are still investigating an accident on the James River that left one 16-year-old in critical condition. At this time, police say the Fluvanna boy, whose name is still not being released, is in critical condition at UVA's Medical Center and the four friends he was with, all between the ages 15 and 17, have been charged with underage drinking.

According to police, the five friends were jumping sixty feet off a rock island in the James River, when the 16-year-old slipped and fell, leaving a massive gash in his head at around 4:00 p.m. Sunday afternoon. Scottsville rescue squad pulled the unconscious boy from the river where he was then air lifted to UVA's Medical Center. His injuries are listed as life threatening.

As for the four other teens he was with, they have all be charged with underage drinking, and the president of Scottsville Rescue Squad, who recovered the teen, said this isn't the first injury at this location. The massive rock has long been a dangerous area.

"Rock Island is private property, number 1. Number 2, it is dangerous. A 60 foot drop into water where you don't know what the level is. You don't know what's down there [in the water]," explained Cindy Johnson of the Scottsville Rescue Squad. "It's dangerous. Stay off it and if alcohol is involved, alcohol and the river or any water just don't go together."

Typically that point in the river, that is just outside Warren, is the deepest area, but the water level of the James is low right now, making it extremely dangerous.

Right now, police are still investigating how the teenagers had access to the alcohol and they do not know if alcohol played a role in causing the fall. Even though the rock island is on private property, police said this is the third accident of this nature they've seen at this spot.

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