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MONDAY, MAY 28, 2007
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Hartselle resident drowns in Gulf

By Ronnie Thomas
rthomas@decaturdaily.com · 340-2438

A Hartselle resident was one of two men who drowned in the Gulf of Mexico over the Memorial Day weekend.

In a press release, Gulf Shores Police Chief Arthur Bourne said LeShaamon Shorrell Garth, 31, died about 12:48 p.m. Sunday Bourne said lifeguards recovered Garth’s body a short distance from shore.

Baldwin County coroner Jim Small said Eric K. Hardison, 43, of Henderson, Tenn., drowned Saturday.

According to a family member, Garth was born in Hartselle and attended Hartselle High School. She said he was unemployed and formerly worked as an assembler at Copeland Industries.

She said Garth’s parents are Fletcher Turney Jr., and Jay Allen, both of Hartselle. She said he has a daughter, Asia Wesley, 7. She said his grandmothers, Melvena Garth and Mildred Turney, also live in Hartselle.

The family member said Garth traveled to Gulf Shores for the holidays.

“He loves his family, and he loves his daughter,” she said.

Sharpley Funeral Home will announce arrangements.

About 2 p.m. Saturday, police and Gulf Shores Fire/Rescue received a 911 call reporting Hardison’s condition. By the time authorities arrived, people at the beach had already brought Hardison ashore and tried to revive him.

Hardison’s father-in-law, Donald Wilson, told the Press-Register in Mobile in a telephone interview from Tennessee that a Tennessee prison employed Hardison and he was always willing to help others. Hardison and his wife, Annie, had three children with whom he enjoyed hunting, Wilson said.

Orange Beach Fire/Rescue responded to two separate distressed swimmers Saturday, in one case using a rescue boat to pull a swimmer from the water three-quarters of a mile out in the Gulf.

Officials flew red flags, which indicate dangerous conditions and alert swimmers to stay out of the surf, at some area beaches Saturday, particularly those near inlets.

But yellow flags flew at other beaches, including the one near where Hardison drowned. Though yellow flags don’t prohibit beachgoers from entering the Gulf, they signify potentially dangerous conditions, including rip currents.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Copyright 2005 THE DECATUR DAILY. All rights reserved.
AP contributed to this report.

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