A man drowned near Tomahawk yesterday, after helping a daughter to safety in Crystal Lake.
Authorities said 42-year-old Xavier M. Patton of Merrill was in the lake with his children, when one of them started having trouble. He swam to the daughter and helped her, and then went under himself in about 10-feet of water.
A 30-year-old witness from Colorado dove in and brought the victim to shore – and efforts to revive him failed. He was pronounced dead at Ministry Sacred Heart Hospital after being transported by Tomahawk EMS.
The incident happened early yesterday afternoon in the Lincoln County town of Bradley.
Patton is the second man from the Merrill area to die tragically this week. The Iowa State Patrol said 55-year-old Michael Hengel of Milwaukee and 38-year-old Cory Severson of Pine River were in a car that was stopped at a construction site – and it got sandwiched between two semi-trucks after one of the trucks rear-ended the auto. Investigators said the two victims were trapped inside their auto as it burst into flames.
A third man to die this week, 49-year-old Kerby Kniess of Wausau, has Merrill ties. His parents live in Gleason and Kniess was a 1981 graduate of Merrill Senior High School. He was killed in the garage of his Wausau home, the victim of a botched armed robbery. He died of blunt force trauma and a skull fracture. Two men, 20-year-old Warren Krohn and 18-year-old Zachary Froelich were arrested and charged with armed robbery and felony murder.
Kniess' funeral will be Saturday morning at 10:30 a.m. at the Waid Funeral Home Chapel.