MT. JULIET, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Cedar Creek Recreational area in Mt. Juliet is a popular swimming spot, especially on a holiday. Several people witnessed a teenager drown in shallow water on Memorial Day.
Alejandra Garcia’s family told News 2 she didn’t know how to swim but went to the lake often.
They say she was sitting on an orange buoy, the water at her waist, when a wave from a boat knocked her in and she didn’t resurface.
Garcia’s cousin Anthony Quintanilla translated for Garcia’s heartbroken mother.
“They were just sitting and it was just at the waist, and they said that a boat passed by and brought a big wave, and all they felt was the current from the bottom of their feet and then the wave, so she says as soon as the wave went, she went down, and she thinks that the current just brought her back down and since she didn’t know how to swim she couldn’t get back up.”
Garcia was with two friends on the buoy when she fell in. Her panicked mother tried to save her.
“She says she was going just crazy because she was trying to find her daughter because she knew she was under there and she couldn’t do anything about it.”
After about a 15 minute search Garcia’s body was recovered. A deputy performed CPR until the Wilson County Emergency Management Agency arrived and transported Garcia to the hospital, where she later passed away.
Carmen Garcia describes her daughter as loving and caring with a bright future ahead of her.
“She was a real good girl, just started her life out. She said she was always happy and in a good mood, very loving, especially with kids.”
The 17-year-old was going to be a junior at Hunters Lane High School. She had dreams of being a nurse.
Garcia’s family would like to transport her body back home to El Salvador where her 19- and 16-year-old brothers live, but it’s costly. They have placed donation boxes at some markets and started a GoFundMe account to help the family with funeral expenses.
Lieutenant Scott Moore with the Wilson County Sheriff’s Ofice says it’s important to know your limits as a swimmer. If you are not a strong swimmer, he says stay with an adult that is or wear a life jacket. He went on to explain that you can drown in shallow water just as easy as deep water.
Lt. Moore also suggests staying hydrated throughout the day as dehydration often leads to fatigue.