11-year-old dies in drowning accident at Sterling State Park

An 11-year-old boy drowned Friday after being swept away by a current Sterling State Park in Frenchtown Township.

"It seemed fine until we got to the deep part, and we both got pulled under," says a longtime family friend who was swimming with him at the time. He helped try to save Eric Stover. 

"I [saw] him come back up and I swam over to him. I tried to tell  him everything was going to be okay," remembers Alex Lizyness. "He was panicking; I was panicking. We both started going under more, so I just did the best I could to try to push him toward shore."

It all happening just after 4 p.m. at the park in Monroe County. 

Alex, now exhausted, remembers trying to push Eric toward safety one last time.

"Me trying to fight the current - I was weak I couldn't move no more. I pushed him as hard as I could one last time. I thought he made it, and I just let myself go, and then I washed up on some rocks and I had no energy to get up and run so I kind of just started yelling help," he says. 

He looked around but couldn't see Eric -- and knew he didn't make it. The county dive team and the aviation unit responded, locating Eric's body.

"Anybody who has a kid under the age of 18 - it doesn't matter if they know how to swim or not - put a life jacket on them, because anything can happen. I mean anything," says Alex. 

Eric leaves behind two sisters, his dad, Eric Sr., and mom, Crystal, who's pregnant. 

"I just want to make sure I give my son a proper burial. He deserves that," says Eric, Sr. 

"He was the most amazing kid ever. He was always willing to help somebody," says Crystal. 

And now they're trying to help bury this beautiful boy and share this experience with others in hopes it will save a life.

If you would like to make a donation to the family to help cover burial expenses, you can do so in the following ways: 

 - Via the family's GoFundMe account
 - Via the family's GiveForward account
 - Donate directly to the funeral home at UHT Funeral Home 35400 Glenwood Rd. Westland,  MI 48186 734-721-8555