Teen drowns in Louisiana while fishing in borrow pit

Published 12:04 pm Thursday, July 22, 2010

A 17-year-old Tallulah girl impaired by a medical procedure that prevented her from holding her breath died Wednesday night after falling from a fishing boat into a borrow pit just across the Mississippi River from Vicksburg.

Jacqueline Foster was fishing with her father, Wesley Crumpton of Tallulah, at about 8 when she fell from the boat, said Capt. Alan Bankston, regional supervisor for the Law Enforcement Division of Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

Crumpton called the Madison Parish Sheriff’s Office at 8:50 p.m., to report the child had fallen from the boat, said James Rash, detective for the sheriff’s office.

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She was not wearing a life preserver as they fished in a 14-foot aluminum boat in the water west of the Mississippi River Mainline Levee, Rash said.

Madison Parish’s coroner, Dr. Thomas Neuman, said he was called to the scene just after Jacqueline’s body was found, at about 2 this morning.

He said Crumpton told him he saw his daughter fall from the boat, but could not see her when she hit the water.

“He asked me, ‘Why didn’t she reach out for me?’” said Neuman, who told Crumpton, “She couldn’t.”

Jacqueline had had a tracheostomy a few months ago and would not have been able to hold her breath when she fell, Neuman said. He said the medical procedure, which leaves a hole in the trachea near the base of the neck, had been performed after Jacqueline was injured in an altercation.

“It would be pretty much impossible,” said Neuman. “If her diaphragm moved at all, it was going to suck water in like a vacuum.”

Bankston said LDWF is investigating the drowning as a boating accident, and an autopsy will be conducted.

The Warren County Sheriff’s Office and the Delta Marshal’s Office also responded in the efforts, with Warren County officials lending boats, manpower and search equipment.

Foster also is survived by her mother, whose identity could not be confirmed this morning.

Beckwith Golden Gate Funeral Home of Tallulah has charge of arrangements.