Tragedy at Rocky Fork Lake

A teenage girl died after falling through the ice at Rocky Fork Lake early Tuesday evening, and a 38-year old natural resources officer died in the rescue efforts.

Lt. Branden Jackman, public information officer for Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District, said that around 6:26 p.m. Tuesday, Paint Creek’s Rainsboro station was dispatched to the area of South Lakeshore Drive for subjects that had fallen through the ice and were in immediate peril.

He said the accident took place at a private dock located on the north side of Rocky Fork Lake at the bottom of a steep incline that had compromised access, but a first responder was on the scene within 10 minutes of the call.

One male juvenile had attempted to rescue one female juvenile, he reported, with the male juvenile able to self-rescue from the ice and water. The male juvenile was later ground transported to Highland District Hospital for treatment of hypothermia, and his current condition is unknown, Jackman said.

Several news outlets have reported that the deceased female was 16 years old.

During the initial phase of the rescue, it was confirmed by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources that resource officer Jason LaGore, 38, of Warren County, had suffered a medical emergency and was transported via ground ambulance to Highland District Hospital, where he later died.

“It is with heavy hearts that we report that he also was unable to be resuscitated,” Jackman said. “… Our hearts and prayers go out to the family of the drowning victim and to our brothers and sisters in blue for the loss of their officer in the line of duty.”

Divers from Task Force 1 from Hamilton County and Franklin County Sheriff’s office were requested to the scene as the female juvenile was unable to be located.

Jackman said that later Tuesday evening, at approximately 10:47 p.m., rescue divers located a point of interest on their sonar equipment and entered the water shortly afterward, recovering the missing girl at 11 p.m.

She was transported to Highland District Hospital via ground ambulance with every life-saving treatment being administered, but Jackman said that she had been under the ice too long and was unable to be resuscitated.

He credited all of the first responders who were involved in the rescue and recovery efforts at Rocky Fork Lake, calling it “a concerted effort with no less than 10 different agencies assisting on scene.”

Units assisting at the scene included Paint Creek Joint EMS & Fire, Lynchburg Area Joint Fire & Ambulance, Highland County Emergency Management, Highland County Sheriff’s Office, Highland County Coroner’s Office, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the Task Force 1 Dive Team from Hamilton County, the dive team from the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, Eastern Joint Fire District, Fayetteville Fire Department and Box 21.

All units at the scene were assisted by the Chillicothe Chapter of the American Red Cross with its cantina.

Ohio Gov. Mike Dewine tweeted that he and his wife, Fran, offer their deepest condolences to officer Lagore’s family and his colleagues at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

“In honor of (LaGore’s) life and service, I’ve ordered flags lowered on public buildings and grounds in Highland County, and at the Statehouse, Riffe Center, and Rhodes Tower in Columbus,” DeWine wrote in his Tweet.

Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.

Late Ohio Department of Natural Resources officer Jason Lagore is pictured along with his K-9 partner Sarge. Ohio Department of Natural Resources officer Jason Lagore is pictured along with his K-9 partner Sarge. Ohio Department of Natural Resources photo
16-year-old female, wildlife officer die in ice-related incident

By Tim Colliver

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