Archive for Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Man drowned trying to rescue fiancee’s 3-year-old boy

A man drowned Monday evening while trying to save a young boy at Perry Lake, Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Herrig said Tuesday.

June 30, 2009, 10:45 a.m. Updated June 30, 2009, 4:34 p.m.


A man who drowned Monday evening was trying to save a child at Perry Lake, Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Herrig said Tuesday.

Robert Courter, 28, was attempting to rescue his fiancee’s 3-year-old son and “ended up getting in trouble himself,” Herrig said. After trying to help the child, the Nortonville man was submerged for eight to nine minutes in about six feet of water.

“He went out to help the little boy, and it’s hard to say if he was just exhausted or cramped up or if there were some other problems, or what happened,” Herrig said.

The sheriff had initially said there were reports that the man couldn’t swim, but he learned later in the day that Courter could swim.

Witnesses at the swimming beach pulled Courter from the lake and started cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, Herrig said. Courter was transported to Lawrence Memorial Hospital, but doctors could not revive him.

Herrig said the 3-year-old boy was rescued, but he wasn’t sure by whom.


Dayle Gregg Hodges 8 years, 11 months ago

This is so sad. It may sound ridiculous, but EVERYONE who EVER goes around water should know how to swim. We taught our daughters how to swim as infants, and at 14 mos. my oldest fell off of a float in a family members pool. By the time I got to her she had kicked to the surface and rolled over onto her back as she had been taught. Also, unless you have been on the lifeguard side of a rescue, you have no idea about the strength of a panicked, drowning person no matter what their age or size is. Please excercise caution all around, wear life jackets, and learn to swim. Condolences to the family of Mr. Courter.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 8 years, 11 months ago

A true man. Too bad we lost one of the few out there.

helter_skelter 8 years, 11 months ago

...remember when you asked for the definition of irony?

Music_Girl 8 years, 11 months ago

My sympathies go out to the family of this young man. He was truly a hero. I agree with Dayle, everyone should learn to swim even if it's just how to float. This is a very sad story.

drake 8 years, 11 months ago

When I went to LHS they required a swimming test to determine if you could swim before you could graduate. Is this still a requirement?

drake 8 years, 11 months ago

Agreed, condolences to the family of this hero.

justthefacts 8 years, 11 months ago

His family and friends have my sympathy. Perhaps a nice memorial would be something related to providing swimming lessons or a life guard at the Lake?

misslawrence 8 years, 11 months ago

R-E-A-L-H-E-R-O!!!!!! my condolences to the Family.,.,.,

salad 8 years, 11 months ago

Always a place in heaven for those who give their life to save a child.

madman 8 years, 11 months ago

Wow that is sad. My condolences to the Family but what a hero.

Tarrant 8 years, 11 months ago

I graduated in 1993 and they still required it. Don't believe they do anymore though.

Lawrence_Local 8 years, 11 months ago

This is such a sad story. What a brave man. He will be remembered as a hero.

And last I checked (late 90's) the swimming requirement still exists for Lawrence High Schools...

Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years, 11 months ago

Don't think they still do at least my 20 year did not need to do that to graduate from LHS.

TtownKUlivin 8 years, 11 months ago

This is quite the write up. If you would like a more detailed report of what happened then you can go here.

Christina Hoffman 8 years, 11 months ago

They stopped requiring the swim test when they built Free State. My class (2000) was the first to not need the test as a credit to graduate. At least that's what we were told.

Calliope877 8 years, 11 months ago

Very sad.:( I wonder if he was a member of the Courter family from Oskaloosa? They have my condolences regardless if it isn't the same family.

I never liked Perry Lake...or any lake in Kansas for that matter. They're all so icky.

RogueThrill 8 years, 11 months ago

How did a 3 year old boy end up in water deep enough to drown a grown man? Kudos to the guy who died trying to save a boy's life, but seriously.

soldier1 8 years, 11 months ago

A true hero. There is no higher honor than to die for another. Sincere condolences to the family. RIP Mr. Courter

Angie Dick 8 years, 11 months ago

I have to say I graduated from LHS in 1992 and I had to pass a swimming test inorder to graduate, U had to be able to swim the length of the pool with out ur feet touching the bottom. Wether u swam on ur back or on your tummy. reguardless If he could swim or not, He was doing what any responsible person would do to save a child, It's just to bad that he didn't Make it.. I do give kudo's for the guy trying. I wish his family the best fo luck.

Maddy Griffin 8 years, 11 months ago

If passing the swimming test is no longer needed to graduate, it needs to be reinstated. My condolence to the family.

Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years, 11 months ago

I thought a day later and I would be able to read this and be ok, nope still just crushes my heart.

MapMadeMind 8 years, 11 months ago

A swimming requirement is a horrible idea. There are some people (like me) with hereditary medical conditions that do not allow them to be as buoyant as others. I can move through the water just fine, so long as I have something on to keep my head above the surface.

Besides, if schools need to require this, who says they don't need to require a whole 'nother cadre of skill requirements?

5thgeneration 8 years, 11 months ago

I had to pass the LHS swimming test in 1995 to graduate. I believe that it became a requirement when the the pool was constructed there. I'm pretty sure that some people were not required to swim the entire distance is medical conditions prevented it. I think that it is a great idea though. If you are physically and mentally capable, there is no reason to not learn how to swim, especially if the school has an indoor pool available to all it's students. My .02.

Angela Heili 8 years, 11 months ago

It is a very unfortunate situation. It goes to show how precious life is and how quickly a simple day at the beach can turn tragic. Life is truly too short. There is no such thing as too many safety precautions.

Give your loved ones an extra hug and a kiss today and live life like it's your last day on earth.

betti81 8 years, 11 months ago

wow. this man also has a daughter who will be missing her father. this is a sad day indeed. Rest in Peace Robert. my thoughts are with your family and your daughter. what a crazy way to lose a life.

oneforall 8 years, 11 months ago


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