A young Pageland man drowned in Lynches River on Thursday, May 31. Emergency responders from Chesterfield and Lancaster Counties converged on the scene on Highway 601 near the old Lynches River Bridge and after a two-and-a-half hour search recovered the body of Jontavis Jamar Pegues, 17.
The remote area reportedly has no cell phone coverage, so witnesses to the drowning were delayed in calling authorities according to information from Pageland Rescue Squad.
Witnesses said Pegues swung from a rope and dropped into the water, surfaced once, then sank and was not seen again. Some friends searched the river while others went for help.
A dive team came from Lancaster Rescue and High Point Fire District arrived with their Rough Terrain Vehicle to assist in the search and recovery effort. The Chesterfield County Sheriff’s Department talked to witnesses to pinpoint possible locations for Pegues’ body.
Pegues was a sophomore at Central High School. He played trumpet in the band, ran on the cross country track team and was on the wrestling team.
“He was a great kid and a great student,” CHS Principal and wrestling coach Judd Starling said. “He’s the kind of kid you wish you had more of. He never gave anybody a bit of trouble. It’s really tragic.”
Band director Larry Farr said he had taught Pegues since sixth grade.
“He was a tremendous boy. He had a great spirit, always had a smile, was always willing to do his best and was a very positive person,” Farr said. “He made us laugh and I’m going to miss him.”
Cross country Coach Joel Dale agreed.
“I’ve never met a more respectful young man,” he said. “When he spoke to me it was always, ‘yes, sir’ and ‘no,sir’ and he did everything that I ever asked of him.”
Chesterfield County Coroner Kip Kiser said an autopsy is being done, but the results “will take quite a while to get.”
Pegues funeral will be at 2 p.m. tomorrow, Wednesday, June 6 in the Central High School gym, followed by burial at Union Hill Missionary Baptist Church cemetery. Flemming Funeral Home is handling arrangements for the Pegues family.