The Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Georgia Bureau of Investigations (GBI) have been called in to investigate the death of a Covington man who died after he jumped into Jackson Lake Thursday night while trying to escape from police.
The body of Gavin Campbell, 19, was recovered from the lake about 2:30 p.m. Friday afternoon, May 29, by the Butts County Fire and Rescue Dive Team and has been taken to the GBI lab in Decatur for autopsy.
According to Lt. Selena Williams of the Newton County Sheriff’s Office, the incident began between 9-10 p.m. Thursday night with an attempted traffic stop on Ga. Highway 36. It became a high speed chase through Newton and Jasper counties, and onto Highway 16 into Butts County.
Campbell turned onto Stark Road, then Lake Pines Drive and stopped at the end of Hickory Point Drive at Jackson Lake. He exited his vehicle, jumped into the lake, possibly in an attempt to swim to the Jasper County side of the lake, got about 75 yards out, began screaming, then went under.
According to Nelly Miles of the GBI, officers pursued Campbell, dove into the lake, and attempted to rescue him.
“The Georgia State Patrol, Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Butts County Sheriff’s Office, Newton County Sheriff’s Office, Jasper County Sheriff’s Office, and Butts County Fire and Rescue Dive Team attempted to locate him last night, but rescue efforts were not successful,” Miles stated in a news release Friday night.
The Newton County Sheriff’s Office, which initiated the chase, requested the GBI assist in the investigation. According to Miles, DNR will investigate the death and the GBI is investigating what led to the death.