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W.Va. man drowns in Sleepy Creek

July 15, 2002|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

BERKELEY COUNTY, W.Va. - A Martinsburg, W.Va., man who drowned in a lake at Sleepy Creek Wildlife Management Area Saturday ate shortly before going into the lake to swim, said a Berkeley County Sheriff's Department official.

It is possible that may have contributed to the death of Samuel Mykie Meyers, Cpl. Ron Gardner said Sunday.

Meyers and some friends went to the lake for a picnic when he decided to jump from a metal dock and swim to a small peninsula, Gardner said.

Meyers swam about halfway to the peninsula when he began struggling, said Gardner. Meyers went up and down two or three times in the water and disappeared, Gardner said.

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Friends who were with Meyers called for help about 6 p.m., Gardner said.

Divers from Berkeley and Jefferson counties searched the water for Meyers for about four hours before finding him at about 10 p.m., Gardner said.

The Berkeley County Dive Team had relieved the Jefferson County Dive Team when Meyers was found in 11 feet of water, according to Gardner.

Meyers, who was found on the bottom, was pronounced dead at the scene, said Gardner.

Meyers was found after a dog in a boat barked, alerting the rescue teams to his location, said Gardner.

Gardner, who was part of the Berkeley County Dive Team, said he and two other divers only had about 3 feet of visibility in the water, which could become murky quickly due to a silt bottom.

Gardner said the distance between the dock and the peninsula, which is about 150 yards, appeared to be close from the dock.

"Of course, when you're looking out over the water, it's deceptive," Gardner said.

No other information about Meyers was available Sunday night.

Sleepy Creek Wildlife Management Area stretches over the border between Berkeley and Morgan counties, officials said. The 205-acre lake, which is mostly used for fishing and boating, is in Berkeley County.

Swimming is prohibited in the lake.

"We enforce it and it's readily known that swimming is not permitted," said Larry Hines, wildlife manager at Sleepy Creek.

At the same time, Meyers' death marks the third drowning in the lake in three years.

Between 1963 and 1999, no drownings occurred at the lake.

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