Wilson County Wants Access Closed To Rope Swing - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Wilson County Wants Access Closed To Rope Swing

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by Chris Conte

LEBANON, Tenn. - The Wilson County Sheriff's Office has been looking at ways to close off a popular cliff jumping site following the drowning of a 15-year-old boy.

Chief Deputy Larry Bowman said people looking for ways to cool off should find other options.

"It's not safe. Go to a pool or something. The current is constantly changing," he said.

The cliff under the Hunters Point Pike Bridge in rural Wilson County has been a popular spot among teens to jump, hang out and party, as can be seen by the broken glass bottles and empty cases of beer that litter the ground in the area.

A rope swing has been attached under the bridge that neighbors said people constantly put back up, even after authorities cut it down.

Lebanon High School student James Davis Jr., age 15, was killed after jumping into the river.

His friends told police Davis struggled in the water on Sunday, July 20, and did not come back up. Authorities said the other two teens swam out to help save him, but one was swept down the stream, where he was later rescued. The other made it to shore safely.

Davis' body was later discovered in the Cumberland River. 

Resident Terry Heatherly said he sees teens at the spot almost every day. The packs of teens who have been lured in by ropeswing and water don't pay attention to the warning and no trespassing signs.

"They don't know that there's an undertow," said Heatherly. "They're either very brave or very stupid."

"This is a 30-foot drop. They come here at all times of the night and we can't be out here constantly but we have made patrolling it a high priority," Bowman said.

The Sheriff's Office has been working with the Army Corps of Engineers to install a fence with barbed wire across the top and additional "no trespassing" signs around the base of the bridge to hopefully deter people from jumping off the cliff or hanging out in the area.

"I've seen the grief in those parents' eyes, and if there's anything we can do to stop this from happening again we're going to do it. We may make some young people angry but they can get angry as long as we save their lives," said Bowman. 

Email: cconte@newschannel5.com
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