Source: Red River Parish Sheriff’s Office
Red River Parish Sheriff’s Office (RRPSO) received a call at 2:52 p.m. May 1 from a local fisherman at Grand Bayou Reservoir. He reported observing several young people jumping from the dam (spillway) into the lake.
This location is a restricted area where boating and swimming is prohibited due to dangers associated with the spillway operation. In light of this extremely dangerous location, units from the Red River Parish Fire District and Red River EMS were dispatched along with Red River Parish Sheriff’s units.
While the units were responding, at 2:58 p.m. Red River Parish Sheriff’s Communications received a second call from one of the swimmers at the spillway. The caller reported that her friend jumped into the water off of the spillway and had not resurfaced.
At 3:08 p.m. the first sheriff’s unit arrived on scene and determined that the swimmer was still missing. Dive teams from Bienville and Natchitoches Parishes were dispatched to Grand Bayou Reservoir with the first arriving on scene at approximately 3:39 p.m.
The victim was identified as Joshua Smith, 20, from Shreveport.
Smith along with six other friends between the ages of 18 and 21 were jumping from the elevated spillway and swimming in the lagoon area in front of the dam. All but one of the participants were from the Shreveport area, while the other was a Red River Parish resident. At the time of the incident, four of the youth jumped from the dam, surfaced and began swimming out to a wooden tower/platform. Near the halfway point, the victim became distressed and eventually disappeared beneath the water.
In addition to local agency emergency responders, Red River Parish Sheriff Glen Edwards thanks the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office Dive Team, the Natchitoches Fire District 9 Dive Team and the Bienville Fire Districts 4 and 5 Dive Team for their quick response and assistance.