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Police: Onslow County man died a hero

Posted June 1, 2010

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— Police said an Onslow man, who drowned over the weekend while trying to save a man and his son in Emerald Isle, died a hero.

Jeremy Lee Crandall, 31, of Hubert, was trying to rescue a father and his 14-year-old son, Emerald Isle Police Lt. Jeff Waters said Tuesday. The father got a cramp and his son was trying to help him. The son soon found himself struggling too.

"(Crandall) gave the surf board to one of them, not the little boy. He was about 10 yards from the father and, apparently at that time, that's when Jeremy got in trouble," Waters said.

Jeremy Lee Crandall and his fiancee Jessica Lakes Police: Onslow County man died a hero

Investigators believe Crandall got a cramp and went under the water. The father and son made it to shore safely.

Crandall was pronounced dead at Carteret General Hospital after being pulled from the water along the beach, authorities said.

"He's a hero," Waters said of Crandall.

Crandall's fiancee, Jessica Lakes, was on the beach with his two daughters – aged 2 and 5 – when he drowned.

"I heard screaming. When I ran out there, I couldn't find him," she said.

Family members said Crandall survived a serious car wreck about a year ago. They said Crandall felt like God had given him a second chance.

"He was a very loving and giving person, without a moment's hesitation. If he had to make that choice over again, he would," she said.

Crandall, who was originally from Michigan, had recently started his own painting business.

The family of the father and son he saved have been in contact with Crandall's family to express their gratitude and shared grief.

Police say two Marines jumped into the water and tried to save Crandall, but were unsuccessful.

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  • jimicarpenter Jun 3, 2010

    Jerry was my older brother his body might still be on this earth but his spirit is with god he is my hero, my friend, my big brother. He may be gone but his legacy will r.emain forever. Love you jerry rip I miss you.

  • Alexia.1 Jun 2, 2010

    da Brute, Luke 23:43, "And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise." Not next week, next year, 1000 years from now... but today. Is there a contradiction in the Bible that says something different?

  • Bubbette Jun 2, 2010

    The story is a little confusing...both got cramps? Maybe a rip current. God Bless Jeremy for helping the family. We were on the beach but did not know what had happened until later. Heroes are all around us.

  • BubbaDuke Jun 2, 2010

    da Brute - whether we sleep in the grave til Christ returns or are immediately transported into His presence, the important thing is not theology, but thanksgiving for what this brave soul accomplished. God was there with Him the entire time. Jeremy was never alone - he made himself available. God bless him and his fiance and children.

  • itsmyownopinion Jun 2, 2010

    Most definitely a hero.

  • da Brute Jun 1, 2010

    garretsmom - No, he's not in heaven. He will be in a grave awaiting the second coming (as per the bible if you believe in it). In any case, I pray God's blessing on his young family left behind.

  • wakeconative4ever Jun 1, 2010

    He is in heaven receiving his reward now..."for no greater love is that than one who will lay down his life for another"...God bless him and his family.

  • yesIamapirate Jun 1, 2010

    What a hero. This is a sad situation. God bless all of those involved.

  • Fuquay Resident Jun 1, 2010

    God gave him a second chance and he used that second chance to save someone's life. I would say he used it wisely. He is a true hero.