James W. Eakle died after helping to save Cody Davis from drowning, Fairmont, West Virginia, June 14, 2003. After a heavy rain, Cody, 8, and two other boys were caught up in the floodwaters of Scratchers Run Creek and swept downstream by the extremely swift current. Eakle, 66, retired mechanic, who lived nearby, and a neighbor were watching the floodwaters when they were alerted to one of the boys approaching. The neighbor rescued that boy, then he and Eakle ran after Cody when he washed by. They responded to a point several hundred feet downstream, where another man had entered the creek and was holding Cody at a tree on the opposite bank. Unable to reach them, Eakle and the neighbor ran a long course to a point on the opposite bank above Cody. Eakle descended to the level of the muddy creek, then, although he could not swim, waded into it and pulled Cody and the other man to safety. After taking Cody to awaiting paramedics, Eakle suffered chest pains. He and Cody were taken to the hospital, where Cody, who suffered a bruise to his head, was detained a day for treatment of hypothermia. Having suffered a heart attack, Eakle lapsed into a coma, from which he did not recover. He died seven weeks later. The third boy drowned.
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