Jefferson County man recovering at UT Medical Center after rescu

Jefferson County man recovering at UT Medical Center after rescue attempt

Posted:
The accident occurred at 9:45 a.m. at the Inspiration Point Campground. The accident occurred at 9:45 a.m. at the Inspiration Point Campground.
By CAMERON TAYLOR
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A Jefferson County man is expected to make a full recovery at UT Medical Center after risking his own life. John Clevenger is part of the rescue squad that tried to save a man from drowning in Douglas Lake.

Previous story: Knoxville Man drowns in Muddy Creek area of Douglas Lake

Clevenger ended up taking in too much water and had to go to the hospital. 


"I was kind of scared because at that point when I saw him, he was having a very hard time breathing, coughing, and they had oxygen on him," said LaVonda Clevenger, his wife.

Clevenger, 50, was trying to save a man from drowning in Douglas Lake and quickly jumped into action as a Jefferson County Rescue Squad member. Clevenger's lungs took in a lot of water while searching for James Arnett, 67.

His wife says he had a life jacket around his arm and was rushing to save Arnett.


"What he did is not something that normally we do and it's not something that he would normally do. From the time period that the call went out until the time we got there, we thought there was a chance," said Clevenger.

Clevenger didn't reach Arnett in time. He was sent to UT Medical Center where doctors examined his lungs for infections specifically pneumonia.


The incident is teaching rescue squad members an important lesson. 


"You may be a really good swimmer, but when the water is cold and you're in a situation where you're exerting yourself, it's easy to take in water and you can go down easy as the person you're trying to help," said Lt. R.T. Lawson with the Jefferson Co. Rescue Squad.

The entire family says they're grateful that Clevenger will be at home soon. 

"We know what could have happened. As one of our rescue squad members who came by this morning told him, it could have been a lot different. We could have been out there looking for him," said Clevenger.  

The family tells 6 News this is the first close call that Clevenger has had in his 23 year career as a rescue squad member.  

The Clevengers are all members of the Jefferson County Rescue Squad.

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