Man Drowns in Hudson River Trying to Save 6 Year Old Autistic Boy

Yomkers, Hudson River

Yomkers, Hudson River

Yonkers,NY – Yonkers lost a beloved member of the community 43-year-old Boyce “Scoop” Coleman on Sunday September 6 when he tried to save a boy with mild autism, Setphen Martin, who was drowning in the Hudson River. The event took place around 7 P.M. when local police were getting calls about a boy drowning during a community barbecue. Before stepping into the bathroom for a short time,  Stephen’s mother Thema asked a friend to watch him when he climbed over the fence near the John F. Kennedy Marina and began swimming in a ‘no swimming’ zone.   As she told CBS 2 New York’s Diane Macedo:

“I came back, and they thought there was fighting. But it was my son in the water.”

That’s when Coleman sprung into action. Quickly he, and another man, jumped into the water to save the drowning six-year-old. Stephen’s mother reports seeing Coleman with her son when he stopped, came back up for a moment, and then was gone forever. One unidentified women screamed for someone to save Coleman, yet no one could.

Other reports say that the man Coleman jumped in with was Andrus residential treatment center administrator, Reginald Butler. Luckily, he spotted Jenna Fanelli, a 23-year-old recreational therapist for the Andrus center and certified life guard of seven years. Scared yet willing, Fanelli dove into the water and free styled her way to Coleman. She instructed Coleman to push Stephen near her and was able to grab hold of the boy fast. Within the ten minutes it took to get the boy to shore Coleman had drowned.

Butler told The Journal News:

“There was nothing she could have done,”

Police arrived at the scene and searched for Coleman’s body that was finally found around 8 P.M. He was taken to John’s Riverside Hospital in Yonkers where he was tragically pronounced dead. Stephen Martin was taken to a local hospital as well and is expected to make a full recovery. So far, Coleman’s funeral arrangements are pending.

While the community is glad Stephen Martin was saved, they are mourning the loss of one of Yonker’s greatest. CBS New York and PIX 11 interviewed a host of relatives and friends who had nothing but great things to say about their fallen friend.

Errol Paisley, who was a neighbour, told Pix 11:

“He would even put quarters on my meter so My car wouldn’t get a ticket,”

Colemen’s nephew Ondre Hendrick’s tearfully claimed that they had lost a kind soul.

To read more on this story please visit the CBS 2 News website

Contributed by Audrey L. Hollingshead