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Man dies after diving into creek
SoVaNow.com / June 13, 2013A 31-year-old South Boston man is dead in a possible drowning in a Vernon Hill creek.
Jonathan Brumfield was with friends at the creek near the 1000 block of Johnson Mill Road on Tuesday about 7:30 p.m., according to Sheriff Fred Clark. A group of about 10 people, including some families, “were just having a good time” at the swimming spot, Clark added.
Carly Myers, a close friend, said she saw Brumfield dive in the water but not come back up. The group grew worried.
One man yelled, “Jonathan, if you are playing around you need to stop — this isn’t funny,” Myers recalled. She said that, although the water is clear at the swimming hole known as Blue Rock, the sand is brown, and it made searching difficult. After a few minutes, she ran to the truck, got her cell phone, and went to the top of the bridge so she could get a cell-phone signal to dial 911.
Clark said witnesses said that Brumfield was underwater approximately 10-15 minutes before a friend was able to locate him and pull him out of the water. The Halifax County Sheriff’s Office was advised that Brumfield was in good health, a good swimmer and had swum at that particular creek many times.
Myers, too, is stunned and baffled by his death: “He was a great swimmer, he was not intoxicated, he was alert and fine when he went in, so what happened after that that caused him not to come back up is beyond me,” she said.
Corporal D.H. Barksdale, Deputy T.H. Clarke and Sheriff Clark were told upon their arrival that Brumfield had been recovered from the creek, that CPR was in progress, and that he was being transported to Halifax Regional Hospital’s emergency room by rescue squad. Brumfield was pronounced dead at 9 p.m.
His body was sent to the Medical Examiner’s Office in Richmond for an autopsy. The investigation is continuing. Clark said foul play is not suspected.
Myers said that, just hours before his death, Brumfield was thrilled to have signed up for the electrical engineering program at DCC, where he had received financial aid. He already had considerable electrical skills, she said, but he needed a degree to make the kind of money he sought. He was especially gratified that a professor there had remembered him from high school 13 years prior.
She said Brumfield, who worked construction, loved fishing, the outdoors, NASCAR and the Redskins.
“He was young and had so much to look forward to. He had so much ambition to do better and change his life in a positive light, and that is why he was so happy [Tuesday], to be beginning that chapter,” Myers said.
He was the son of Dorothy Clay and the late Roy Brumfield; he is also survived by a brother, Mike Brumfield.
In addition to the sheriff’s department, Halifax County Emergency Services and Oak Level Fire and EMS units went to the scene.
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