An East Gaston High School senior just four days from graduation drowned Tuesday evening while swimming with friends at Mountain Island Lake, according to Gaston County authorities.
Police on Wednesday identified the teen as Jaquez D’Andre Hunter-Cathey, 19. He and several other students had gone to the lake to celebrate their last day of school.
Hunter-Cathey wrestled in the 145-pound class at East Gaston and was among the team’s standouts.
The drowning marks the third time in less than two weeks that a high school senior in the Charlotte area died in an accident.
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The drowning apparently took place about 6:30 p.m., authorities said. They said the youths got access to the lake near the Mount Holly Water Treatment Plant, an area that is not open to swimming.
Hunter-Cathey jumped in the water but did not come back up, friends said. Gaston County investigators said the friends waited two hours before calling 911, but they are not sure why the teens waited that long. According to social media reports Wednesday, some of his friends thought they saw him exit the lake a short time later and did not think they needed to call for help.
Officials at East Gaston High said Wednesday they will make a special presentation in honor of Hunter-Cathey during Saturday morning’s graduation ceremonies.
On Sunday, another Gaston County high school senior, 18-year-old Arielle Reid, was killed when a car driven by her father crashed near Mount Holly. Reid was a student at Highland Tech.
And on June 1, Porter Ridge High senior Samantha Windham, 17, of Indian Trail, died in a single-vehicle crash in Union County.