Teens who saved friend charged with underage drinking

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 6, 2012

By Sarah Campbell
SALISBURY — Two of the teens credited with saving the life of Gavin Littleton, 15, after he dove from a pontoon boat into shallow water at High Rock Lake Wednesday night have been charged with underage drinking.
Capt. John Sifford of the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office said a Breathalyzer test revealed Zach Lemmon, 17, and Nick Cornacchione, 18, had been consuming alcohol.
Lemmon had a blood alcohol content of .04 and Cornacchione’s came in at .11.
The officer who interviewed the boys about the accident asked them to submit to the test after smelling alcohol, Sifford said.
Sifford said the boys admitted to drinking beer that someone purchased for them. They didn’t know the name of the man who bought the alcohol.
Cornacchione told a Post reporter this morning that Littleton, who was set to go into surgery today to insert pins into his broken neck, was not drinking Wednesday.
“Gavin was sober and it honestly didn’t affect the situation,” he said. “I actually think it may have helped to keep us calm enough to react.”
It wasn’t uncommon for Littleton to be a daredevil, Cornacchione said.
“Gavin just does stuff like that all the time … he thinks he’s invincible,” he said. “We’re just lucky that we were with him.”
Lemmon said this morning that the Post shouldn’t be focusing on the charges.
“You should focus on Gavin and the prayers that he needs,” he said.
Cornacchione, an East Rowan High School graduate and Eagle Scout, performed CPR on Littleton for about 20 minutes Wednesday after Lemmon and Thomas Tucker pulled him from the water, which was likely less than 3 feet deep.
Tucker drove the boat to a nearby fishing boat for help before continuing to Tamarac Marina, where first responders from Liberty Volunteer Fire Department took over.
Littleton, a rising sophomore at North Rowan High, was airlifted to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. He was listed in critical condition Thursday evening.