By Jessica Loeding
A Bartow County, Ga., teen drowned at about midnight Saturday while playing a game with friends at a Lake Allatoona marina.
Chance Werner, 18, of Euharlee, was among a group of people at Holiday Harbor Marina in Acworth playing a game in which one person sits in a shopping cart tied to a pole. The cart is then pushed off the dock, causing the person to “pop” out of the cart, after which the person would swim to the dock, according to the Department of Natural Resources. Werner, however, was tied to the cart, not to the pole. The cart pulled him into the water, and he did not resurface.
The Bartow County Sheriff’s Office said three young men, including Werner, were playing the game when Werner tied the rope to his waist.
His body was recovered about 2:50 a.m. by Department of Natural Resources, Bartow County Sheriff's Office and Bartow County Fire Department dive teams in about 30 feet of water still tied to the cart.
Asked if charges would be filed should Werner have been tied to the cart by someone else, sheriff's office Sgt. Jonathan Rogers said investigators are looking into that possibility.
“We are going to have to interview some more people and then we will let the [district attorney] know our findings,” he said.
It is possible alcohol was a factor, Rogers said, although that has not been confirmed.
Authorities are continuing the investigation into Werner’s death.
Werner, who witnesses said graduated from high school Saturday, was not among the lists of graduates from Woodland, Cass or Adairsville high schools provided to The Daily Tribune News.
A Facebook page for Chance Werner lists him as a 2013 Woodland High School alumnus.
One of the friends listed for Werner had posted Saturday of the “first official houseboat party” set for that night at Holiday Harbor Marina, which would include “karaoke and all partying all night come on.” Among the comments on that post was the statement, “is this where chance died???”
This was the first drowning of the holiday weekend and the first on Lake Allatoona this year. The Department of Natural Resources reported a second drowning for the Memorial Day weekend when a man was pulled from the Atlantic Ocean on Tybee Island.
Bartow County emergency management Public Information Officer Brad Cothran said EMS crews had responded to the drowning along with two other incidents on the lake.
“Bartow EMS transported Friday afternoon a 25[-year-old] male that dove into the lake, striking his head and face on the bottom, which required treatment and transport to the emergency department,” Cothran said in a statement. “Friday evening Bartow EMS transported a male that suffered a broken leg while wakeboarding on Allatoona Lake.”