Frostproof Student Drowns in Waverunner Crash at Father's Day Celebration
Second Tragedy Strikes Torres Family in Less Than Three Months
Last updated 6/19/2023 at 3:22pm
A family Father's Day celebration tragedy took the life of a 17-year-old Frostproof resident, who drowned in Lake Clinch after a boating crash.
Jose Torres was reportedly the driver of a vehicle, described as "a waverunner," that tumbled out of control about 200 yards off shore just after 8:00 pm Sunday, throwing him and a passenger into the water.
According to reports, the Frostproof Fire Department was notified at 8:19 pm and responded to the scene, calling local fisherman Jerry Sweat for assistance.
"I do a lot of fishing on Clinch Lake, but unfortunately I was out of town. I called four or five friends and they were able to get out there," Sweat told LakeWalesNews.net.
Those individuals arrived rapidly with sonar equipment in two boats, but Torres could not be located. His body was recovered before 2:00 am.
Torres' father, Antonio Torres, is an employee of TJ Shorette, licensed contractor, where Jose had been working alongside his father during the summer.
The senior Torres reported to Monday morning in tears, explaining that he was struggling over what had happened. He was sent home, and Kim Shorette promptly started a GoFundMe page in support of the family.
"If you have it in your heart to help this hard working and very sweet family bury their son, please do so and all prayers are welcomed," Shorette posted on the page at gofundme.com. That effort reached its initial goal of $10,000 within hours.
A special gathering will be held by the Frostproof soccer teams Monday night at 7:00 to honor and remember Torres, who was known by his nickname of "Chon."
Torres' cousin Luis Mejia was killed in early April, and 10 others were injured, in an early morning head-on crash when their crew bus, owned by Overlook Harvesting, a Bentley Brothers citrus harvesting operation based in Winter Haven, collided head-on with a fuel tanker on U.S. Highway 98 near Ft. Meade. Another cousin, Balt Mejia, was seriously injured in that accident. The Torres family reportedly maintained a bedside vigil at the hospital during his recovery.
"It's "a freak thing," Donley said of the tragedy. She said that she is very aware of the danger of drowning, and takes extra precautions when she invites visitors to swim at her lake, as she did with a group of Lake Wales Highlander players last week.
"I had them over on Wednesday, they're linemen, and didn't think they needed them, but I was making them wear their life vests."