Crews spend Saturday searching water for missing teen; friends reflect

Crews searched Saturday for Jason Moran, 17, of Franklin.
A normally quiet four way stop at River Road and 252 in Edinburgh bustled Saturday with search crews as well as loved ones of 17-year-old Jason Moran.

"It all hit me like a ton of bricks and then thinking about all the memories, it just really gets to you," said childhood friend and fellow football player Victor Brown.

Crews from several different fire departments and the Department of Natural Resources resumed their search at 7:00 am Saturday.

Searchers had been at the Blue River Dam in Edinburgh Friday afternoon where five teenagers were swimming near a low-head dam. One of them was swept over the dam and officials say two of the other teenagers in the group tried to help, but were caught in turbulent water at the base of the dam.

At the scene, time seemed to stand still for those watching and waiting Saturday.

"To be honest it's been awful. I've cried a lot lately he was such a close friend,” Brown said.

The two grew up together, had the same baby sitter, and attended elementary through high school together.

“He's a great kid. Made a lot of memories with him. He never really was down; he was always happy and it’s just sad because he's gone,” Brown said.

Nearly four dozen crews searched the Blue River Dam Saturday afternoon.

Water levels dropped enough from Friday to let them physically go into the water Saturday.

“It's extremely difficult; this is about as bad as a scenario that you can get with a high water level in a low head dam. Those are items that are extremely hazardous to the personnel and just being near the water put them in danger,” DNR Officer Jet Quillen said Saturday afternoon.

Danger is exactly why friends say Jason Moran entered the water Friday afternoon; he tried to save another teen and jumped into the water to rescue her.

“He's a hero,” said Ryan Torrance, another childhood friend.

Friends say that's typical of the Franklin Community High School football star. Torrance remembers Jason's power during practice playing against him.

“He completely just lit me up and broke my chin strap and broke my helmet and everything. I've always remembered that because it hurt really bad,” Torrance said with a smile.

While they laugh about it now, it's those memories that offer comfort and compel childhood friends to come to the scene.

“I knew if it was me out there, he would come here to support me. He's just one of those kids that is outgoing and loving and caring and I knew he would be there for me, so I'm trying to be a good friend for him and come out and support him,” Torrance said.

Two of the other five people in the water were taken to the hospital after being pulled unresponsive from the water. Sarah McLevish and Michael Chadbourne, both 16 years old, were both listed in critical condition Saturday.

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