Good samaritans help first responders rescue children, teen from Mississippi River near Silver Street

Published 7:17 pm Sunday, June 30, 2024

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NATCHEZ — Natchez police officer Kajlil Jenkins said whatever resources they could find, including civilian ones, came quickly to help rescue three juveniles from the Mississippi River at Silver Street on Sunday afternoon.

One of the victims, a 16-year-old attempting to rescue her younger brothers from drowning, was “in the water a good 20 or 25 minutes,” Jenkins said.

He saw people in the water before anyone had time to call 911 and called it in on his radio at approximately 5:30 p.m.

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Seven-year-old Lakeithius “Eli” Brashears reportedly slipped on wet pavement and fell into the water and his brother Lakeivion Brashears, 8, and sister Jaila Tobias, 16, jumped in after him.

Doug Pruett from Montgomery, Alabama, said he and his wife Judy were eating at a nearby restaurant for their 25th anniversary and saw the commotion. He and another man whose name he didn’t know were able to get the two younger children out safely. Tobias, however, was caught in the current and carried beyond their reach about 250 yards out, authorities said.

Natchez Fire Chief Robert Arrington said while first responders were en route to the river, they spotted civilians Jackson Moody and Taylor Little at Fat Mama’s Tamales on Canal Street with a boat on a trailer and asked them to help.

Authorities also asked another civilian Jake Meriwether to stop with his boat and he did, but it wasn’t needed.

Civilians Jackson Moody and Taylor Little used a boat to rescue a teen who jumped into the Mississippi River trying to rescue her two younger siblings and got swept up by the current. Each of the three juveniles are safe and expected to recover. (Submitted)

Moody and Little “were able to get their boat into the water and get her out,” Arrington said, adding, “She is on her way to the (Merit Health) hospital. She was conscious but not feeling well at all. She drank a lot of river water but we expect her to be OK.”

Arrington said the young people were very fortunate that the civilians were there, some with boats, to get to them quickly.

“The teenager was too far out and I knew good and well I couldn’t swim that good,” added Pruett.