Cop heard teen tried to save pal be­fore sink­ing

The Denver Post - - FRONT PAGE - By Jesse Paul

parker » One of the two teenage boys who died af­ter fall­ing into an icy re­ten­tion pond ear­lier this month per­ished try­ing to keep his friend afloat.

Of­fi­cer Trey Biles said he was told Patric Lantz was work­ing to save Max Gant­nier, who couldn’t swim, in the mo­ments be­fore the two slipped be­neath the wa­ter’s murky sur­face in Parker.

“You’re pulling out kids that feel frozen,” Biles said af­ter a Thurs­day news con­fer­ence at which he re­counted be­ing the first to ar­rive at the Jan. 14 ac­ci­dent. “There’s no real way to ar­tic­u­late that emo­tion­ally. It’s all over the place.”

Biles said he­was told of Patric’s heroic ef­forts by fam­ily mem­bers of the three who fell into the pond. Cole Robin­son sur­vived af­ter Biles pulled him to safety with a 15- foot aspen branch he found

while run­ning to the scene.

“He­was the one who gave ev­ery­thing ev­ery day, the one that sac­ri­ficed him­self for some­one else’s boy,” Patric’s father wrote in a re­mem­brance of his son.

Biles said Cole was the only teen vis­i­ble when he ar­rived at the wa­ter’s edge.

“I truly be­lieve that one of the more heroic things that I’ve ever seen is Cole grab­bing onto that branch be­cause he had no dex­ter­ity in his hands,” a some­times emo­tional Biles told re­porters. “He was able to grab it with his fore­arms and get pulled up onto shore.”

Ac­cord­ing to Biles, 15year- old Max and 16- yearold Patric were nowhere to be found as he res­cued Cole. The of­fi­cer said he was con­fused be­cause dis­patch­ers had told him to look for three boys.

“I kept ask­ing Cole where ev­ery­body was,” Biles re­counted. “He kept just say­ing re­peat­edly, ‘ They’re gone. They’re gone. They’ve been in the wa­ter too long.’ ”

Patric died af­ter be­ing re­moved from the pond af­ter roughly 35 min­utes. Max, who was in the wa­ter for about 15 min­utes, was in crit­i­cal con­di­tion for more than 10 days be­fore he died Mon­day.

Cole was re­leased from med­i­cal care the night of the ac­ci­dent, but doc­tors say he was on the verge of se­ri­ous in­jury, even death. Po­lice say Cole’s core tem­per­a­ture was only a de­gree warmer than that of his friend Max.

All three boys were sopho­mores at nearby Leg­end High School.

A fran­tic 911 call from a teen girl who saw the three boys— her class­mates— in the wa­ter also cap­tured some of the chaos.

At the time of the call, she could see one boy — pre­sum­ably Cole — barely keep­ing his head above wa­ter, but she had seen all three teens in the pond mo­ments ear­lier.

“I see him try­ing to get out,” she said. “I see stuff float­ing, and I can only see one guy. I see a coat float­ing. One of them is ac­tu­ally in my class.”

Po­lice say they still don’t know ex­actly why the boys were on the ice, but said they were likely just kids be­ing kids. One neigh­bor told The Den­ver Post she saw the three boys head­ing down to the pond and slid­ing around on its frozen sur­face.

Po­lice Chief David King says in the wake of the deaths, his depart­ment has or­dered 75 rope devices to place in pa­trol cars in case of an­other ice res­cue.

Parker po­lice have been called to sev­eral other re­ports of peo­ple on ice since the day Patric, Max and Cole fell into the pond.

“We have kids on the ice ev­ery sin­gle day,” Biles said. “I have been to calls with kids from the same school on ice days af­ter this hap­pened.”

Biles added that he’s been yelling a lot more when he re­sponds to such sit­u­a­tions. He urged greater aware­ness and education about the dan­gers of thin ice.

Parker of­fi­cials say they are thank­ful there wasn’t a third death, and they lauded the ac­tions of emer­gency re­spon­ders.

At a me­mo­rial ser­vice for Patric on Tues­day, friends and fam­ily re­mem­bered the rugby- play­ing boy some­times called “Patch.” Next week, Max, who loved read­ing and the color green, will be re­mem­bered at a ser­vice of his own.

“We’re in the process of heal­ing,” Mayor Mike Waid said.

RJ San­gosti, The Den­ver Post

Parker po­lice Of­fi­cer Trey Biles used a tree branch to save a teenage boy dur­ing an ice res­cue in Parker.

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