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|Jet ski accident claims young man's life|
"For me, there wasn't a finer young man."
That's how Neville High School Principal Brent Vidrine described James "Trey" Altick III, a Neville junior who died Wednesday, following a jet ski accident on Bayou DeSiard.
Services for Altick, 15, will be held Friday, May 23, at 2 p.m. at First Baptist Church of West Monroe under the direction of Kilpatrick's Funeral Home.
Visitation will be held Thursday evening at First Baptist from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Vidrine said Altick, whose parents are Dr. and Mrs. James Altick Jr., was a 4.0 student and potential valedictorian for his class. Also, Altick was in the running for a National Merit scholarship.
"He was everything a mother and father could want in a son," Vidrine said. "He was one of the best kids we had at Neville High School."
Vidrine called the accident a tragedy and said the Neville community will definitely feel an absence.
"It's devastating to lose a young man of Trey's magnitude and character," Vidrine said.
According to Monroe Police Department Captain Hank Smith, 911 received a phone call concerning an accident on Bayou DeSiard at approximately 3:53 p.m. Tuesday afternoon.
Smith said MPD has trained rescue divers on patrol and one of those divers responded to the initial call.
"The first one arrived and was in the water within about 15 minutes," Smith said. "He started his search and additional divers and a police department boat arrived within 30 minutes."
Altick was discovered in about 30 feet of water and was transported to St. Francis Medical Center North, where he died Wednesday.
Smith said Altick had been underwater for more than 45 minutes when he was found.
The accident is under investigation by the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
LWF investigator Mike Rockett called the accident tragic.
"They were just out there riding and having a good time," Rockett said.
Rockett said Altick was riding with two other boys on the jet ski. They apparently lost control during a turn.
"They were just riding on the bayou and, when they turned, they fell off," Rockett said. "Two of them surfaced, one of them didn't."
It was unknown late Wednesday whether any of the boys were wearing lifejackets, as required by law.
Rockett said investigators work a number of waterborne accidents each year. Memorial Day weekend represents the kick-off of boating season.
Rockett said some accidents can be avoided but added wearing a floatation device greatly improves water safety.
"Just make sure you have life jackets and are wearing them," Rockett said. "And be aware of your surroundings and other people."