Police: 14-year-old boy drowns in Root River on Fourth of July, while swimming with friends

RACINE COUNTY -- A 14-year-old boy drowned in the Root River in Racine on the Fourth of July.

It happened shortly before 4:00 p.m.

Racine police say they were called out to the Washington Park Golf Course, and learned the boy was swimming in the river with two friends when he went under and didn't resurface.

He was located by rescue personnel, but life-saving measures were unsuccessful, and the victim was pronounced dead. His name is not being released at this time.

An initial investigation has revealed the victim was playing in the river where the storm sewer drains when he went under water and could not resurface.

Michael Payne

"It's very mucky and dirty and cold. I don't know if they underestimated the depth of the river. It's not flowing very fast, but it's a deeper area of the river," Michael Payne, Racine County medical examiner.

Golfers at the Washington Park Golf Course said they were saddened by this tragedy, but not surprised.

"It's sad to have a young teenager not even have a chance," Valerie Zamecnik said.

Zamecnik and her husband said they see kids swimming in the area all the time.

"Fourth of July, you're supposed to have a good time. Now the family is going to have to remember this every Fourth of July," Gary Zamecnik said.

Payne said notifying the boy's family was extremely difficult.

"You think you're going to come home and see fireworks with your kids and your young son has drowned. How terrible," Payne said.

The investigation is ongoing.

Racine drowning (PHOTO: Racine Journal Times - Mark Schaaf)