Local News

Father Fights To Tear Down Deadly Dam

Posted September 29, 2000

— A Johnston County father is taking action that he hopes will save another family from facing the same tragedy he has seen.

A few weeks ago, Paul Tetrick, a 17-year-old North Johnston High School student, drowned in the Little River near Kenly -- an area that has become popular with locals.

He died in the current from the old Lowell Mill Dam, which is about a hundred years old. Tetrick's friend Rocky Schalliol jumped in, but he could not save him.

"When he jumped off, you can see the current right over there, it's just one big circular motion and he got caught up in that and just couldn't swim," Schalliol says.

Tetrick's father, Doug, is leading a crusade to have the dam torn down.

"If he would have realized what he was getting into, I know he wouldn't have jumped in," Doug says. "He knew better. He just made a mistake."

The land around the dam is clearly marked private property, but many people still come to swim. Tetrick believes more swimmers will die if it is allowed to stay.

"I'd hate to face another family that's gone through this, especially at this particular site, without me having done everything in my power to have something done about it," he says.

The owners of the dam say they are fine with it being destroyed, because it is not being used anymore. Usually, the federal government will do the work and pay the bill.

The dam could come down as soon as this winter.

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