17-year-old teen drowns in Lapeer County lake

A 17-year-old teen drowned attempting to swim across a Lapeer County lake at Hadley State Park.

The incident happened when Troy Paxton and his friend went swimming at Lake Minnawanna in Metamora Campground Thursday. 

"One of them was starting to have difficulty and his friend swam the rest of the way and grabbed a kayak to go out to him," said Lt. Andy Engster, Lapeer County Sheriff's Department. "We had divers here within probably 15 minutes of the call out. 

"By the time they got suited up, it took a little while to find him."

From the looks of it, the boys may have thought they had a short distance to swim - not realizing how long it was until it was too late.

Ryan Durrant and several other nearby campers, jumped in to help.

"At first I thought he was messing around," Durrant said. "Then he started swimming out there and then he started panicking. Then he went under and I couldn't see him after that.

"It felt like a dream, a big dream. Like it wasn't even real."

Engster said Paxton, from Flint, became exhausted.

"He just got too tired," Engster said. "And when you start panicking and start yelling for help. Quite often they start gasping and get a mouth full of water. Once that happens, it's over."

This is the first drowning on the lake this year according to police, but not the first due to swimmers disregarding the borders set by swimming buoys.

"Stay in the posted swim area and don't try to swim across the lake," Engster said. "It is a senseless tragedy."

Tonight the campers are left with that lesson and a solemn feeling.

"What else could I do?" said Durrant.