Man drowns in rescue attempt; girlfriend was already safe
By Douglas Stanglin, USA TODAY
Updated 19h 14m ago
A 25-year-old man who drowned while trying to rescue his girlfriend may not have realized she had already escaped from her car sinking in the Tennessee River, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reports.
Authorities say Christopher Heaton of Jasper, Tenn., had driven to the spot near Bridgeport, Ala., on Tuesday to meet his unidentified girlfriend at a boat ramp.
Witnesses told police that Heaton spotted her vehicle being swept down the river and immediately dove into the water, the paper says.
But the woman had already escaped and was being helped from the water by a fisherman at a ramp only 20 yards away, according to Jackson County Chief Deputy Rock Harnen.
"He may not have seen her," Harnen says, the newspaper reports.
The newspaper reports that family members, in an obituary notice, said Heaton, a father of two, apparently believed that a small child was trapped in the car.
The Times Free Press says investigators did not immediately know why the woman had driven her car so close to the river.