After searching for nearly four hours Saturday, divers pulled the body of a 36-year-old man from a Licking County pond.
Rescuers were dispatched to 3320 Van Fossen Road near Johnstown around 4 p.m. Saturday. Witnesses told first responders that a man struggling in the water, went under, and never resurfaced.
Licking County deputies said the victim, 36-year-old Jeffery Everetts was with a few dozen people at what was described as a company outing. They said witnesses indicated that the victim had been drinking and that may have contributed to his death.
Witnesses told rescuers that the man was attempting to swim from the bank of the pond to an island a few hundred yards away.
“According to witnesses, he appeared to be intoxicated. He was asked several times not to enter the water,” Licking County Detective Sergeant Brock Harmon said.
Sgt. Harmon said a witness noticed the victim was in distress and attempted to help. “The victim became combative and the individual who was helping him had to stop helping him,” Harmon said.
Harmon said, at that point, the victim, Jeffery Everetts went under water. Rescue crews recovered the body of the 36-year-old several hours later in about 14 feet of water. They cautioned that drinking while swimming in large bodies of water, including ponds and lakes, can often be dangerous.
10TV obtained the 911 call made to Licking County dispatchers. In it, the caller tells the dispatcher that in the past, two others have drowned in the same pond.
Divers have recovered the body of man who drowned in a pond along Van Fossen Road in Licking County Saturday evening.
The Licking County Sheriff's office identified the man as 36-year-old Jeffery Everetts.
His body is being transported to the Licking County Coroner's office where an autopsy will be conducted.
Witnesses said Everetts was trying to swim from the bank of the pond to an island near the middle of the pond, when he went under, according to Detective Sergeant Brock Harmon with the Licking County Sheriff’s Office.
Witnesses told deputies Everetts had been drinking. Harmon said a person on a jet ski attempted to help him, but witnesses said he became combative and the person was no longer able to help.
Harmon said multiple people were at the pond at 3320 Van Fossen Road in Bennington Township for a company picnic.
Search and rescue crews from Madison, Newton and Genoa Townships, as well as Johnstown, Newark and Granville assisted in the efforts.
Authorities said the man was at the pond with family members.