(Photos by Jimmy Matticks/For The Highland County Press.)
(Photos by Jimmy Matticks/For The Highland County Press.)

On Tuesday, Feb. 23 at approximately 6:26 p.m., the Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District’s Rainsboro station was requested to the area of South Lakeshore Drive for subjects that had fallen through the ice and were in immediate peril.

The accident took place at a private dock situated on the north side of Rocky Fork Lake. Paint Creek’s first medic was on scene within 10 minutes of the call, which was located at the bottom of a steep incline with access issues.

One male juvenile had attempted to rescue one female juvenile. The male juvenile was able to rescue himself from the ice and water. The male juvenile was transported by ground to Highland District Hospital with hypothermia present. His current condition is unknown.

At approximately 10:47 p.m., the divers located a sonar point of interest, and divers entered the water at 10:53. The missing juvenile's body was removed from the water at 11 p.m. She was transported emergent to Highland District Hospital via ground ambulance.

During the initial phase of the rescue, an Ohio Division of Natural Resources Officer suffered a medical emergency at the scene and was transported via ground ambulance to Highland District Hospital in Hillsboro. According to Highland County Coroner Dr. Jeff Beery, the ODNR officer, Jason Lagore, also passed away after his attempts to rescue the teens. 

An autopsy is anticipated for both victims.

"Our hearts and prayers go out to the family of the drowning victim and to our brothers and sisters in blue for the loss of their officer in the line of duty," Branden Jackman, public information officer for Paint Creek Joint EMS & Fire District, said.

"This was a concerted effort that had agencies from state all the way to local level working in unison." 

Units assisting on scene include Paint Creek Joint EMS & Fire, Lynchburg Area Joint Fire & Ambulance, Highland County Emergency Management, Highland County Sheriff’s Office, Highland County Coroner’s Office, Ohio Division of Natural Resources, Task Force 1 dive team from Hamilton County, the dive team from Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, Eastern Joint Fire District, Fayetteville Fire Department and Box 21. 

State Rep. Shane Wilkin (R-Hillsboro) today issued the following statement on the tragic losses of Officer Jason Lagore and the 16-year-old he was trying to save: “Our community and our state are mourning the tragic losses of Officer Jason Lagore and the 16-year-old he was trying to save. Officer Lagore’s selflessness and commitment to serving others represents the very best of law enforcement. Neither he nor the girl he was trying to save will be forgotten. I ask that we keep in our thoughts and prayers their loved ones during this difficult time.”

All units on scene are being assisted by the Chillicothe Chapter of the American Red Cross.

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The Highland County Press

(Posted Tuesday at 8:03 p.m. Feb. 23)

Emergency responders were called to Rocky Fork Lake State Park Tuesday evening, Feb. 23.

Unofficial reports indicate at least one person may have fallen through the ice on Rocky Fork Lake.

The Highland County Press has reached out to the Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District, the Highland County Sheriff's Office, the Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Additional information will be reported as departments respond when they are able to.