An Ashtabula County man drowned Wednesday morning at the New Lyme Wildlife Area, said Tom Despenes, Ashtabula County Coroner’s Investigator.

Lawrence Vaught, 67, of Austinburg, was in the process of launching a boat by himself when the line connecting the boat to the truck broke, and the boat started to float into the lake, Despenes said.

Vaught attempted to reach the boat, but could not get into it from the water and was not wearing a life vest, Despenes said. By the time he reached the boat, Vaught was in water that was over his head, Despenes said. Vaught was hanging onto the side of the boat yelling for help, Despenes said.

Despenes said a witness heard Vaught calling for help and unsuccessfully tried to assist him, Eventually, Vaught went under the water and did not resurface, the investigator said.

The sheriff’s department received a call at 9:34 a.m. Wednesday, and Vaught was pronounced dead at 10:33 a.m., Despenes said.

There will not be an autopsy or toxicology tests because the event was witnessed, Despenes said. Vaught’s body was transported to the morgue, but will be released to a funeral home.


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