Mother of drowning victim speaks up about her efforts to reduce drowning incidents

The mother of a Briar Cliff University student who drowned is speaking up

Wednesday's drowning in Burbank Beach in Union County South Dakota hits close to home for Joene Patterson.

"When you're young, you just think nothing can happen to me," said Patterson.

Her son Tom's life was taken away in the Missouri River last September, after drowning the dangerous currents..

"That day was a poor pick. They had been there other days where they walk completely across the river. It all depends, the current and flow and levels change constantly," said Patterson.

She says, far too many lives have been taken away there since 2015.

Now she's reaching out to South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard, asking him to increase patrols in the area, turn it into a semi-recreational area and note the dangers of the currents.

"I really never went to that specific area but I've been told it's highly vandalized, that when they do put any signs or anything, the postings are always gone," said Patterson.

Dan Loofe of Sioux City was one of the eyewitnesses and the last people to see Tom before the river swept him away. Loofe said he agrees with Patterson.

"I absolutely for that area being shut down 100%. I don't know how many lives have to be taken there for the governor or the State of South Dakota that that place is not a place for young adults to be because the tragedy there in the last couple years," said Loofe.

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