Father of teen who called 911: 'Don't ever think that you didn't do enough'

By Valencia

SULLIVAN'S ISLAND, S.C. (WCIV) - The swimming accident that killed 17-year-old James Williamson brings about a flood of emotions for Scott Riddle. Riddle's son, Joe, was with Williamson at the time of the accident and called 911.

"It's odd when you try to think about why things happen and the way they happen," said Scott Riddle.

Scott Riddle says his son was swimming with three of his friends but got out of the water to wait on a call from his girlfriend. When Joe Riddle turned around, his friends were gone, Scott Riddle said.

"He searched for them for a little bit and he could have very well thought they were on the beach a little bit up the way," said Scott Riddle. "But he had the thought, 'I better call 911.'"

Soon after, a helicopter of rescuers could see Williamson was trapped in the water.

Rescuers were able to save two other teens with Williamson and Joe Riddle, but Williamson later died.

"I asked Nick at the hospital, 'So, when you guys stepped off in the hole, it was that strong? It was that quick?' And he said, 'Yes, sir," said Scott Riddle. "He said, 'It just started taking us out immediately.'"

Scott Riddle says he knows the accident could have been worse. And, he is thankful that his son was so proactive.

"I told him, 'Don't ever second-guess yourself,'" Scott Riddle said. "'Don't ever think that you didn't do enough. You did all you could do and you did it well.'"

Scott Riddle encourages other parents to use this accident as a reminder to their kids.

"Just make sure that they are with people; they know what to do in emergencies," said Scott Riddle. "Just encourage them that even though they think they are indestructible, we know they're not and just let them know that we're there for them."

Visitation for Williamson will be held Thursday at Carolina Memorial Gardens from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off