Mother of Drowned Teen Seeks Safety Changes at Beaver Lake

BEAVER LAKE, Ark. --  It's been nearly a month since a northwest Arkansas teenager lost his life after his family's car rolled into Beaver Lake.  Now his family wants safety barriers put up to prevent it from happening again.

Clifford Collins, 16, was trapped inside when it rolled off a bluff into Beaver Lake on February 10.

Over five million people visit Beaver Lake every year and with the recent drowning of Collins, those close to him want to make sure an accident like this never happens again.

Reba Collins is Clifford's mother.  "There does need to be some kind of barricade. The incident with my son, if there was a barricade it could have stopped him," she insists. "But because there's no barricade here, I lost my son."

Collins wants the Beaver Lake U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to build some sort of barrier between the cars and the cliffs. Her son, affectionately known as Bubba, was strapped into his car when the parking break came loose and he began rolling towards the edge of the bluff.

"It rolled forward on us. It knocked me out in front of it twice. It went off the bluff and some boaters came up and wouldn't let me jump in after it," said Collins.

Collins doesn't understand why a barrier doesn't already exist but the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is considering one.

"How many people's lives have to go before they do something about it? What's the excuse for not putting one up here? It could be anybody. I guess you don't really think about it until something like this happens," said Collins.

"We have not thought about putting a railing there because we get literally thousands of people a year coming down there to swim and fish and have a good time. We are going to talk to Washington County Sheriff's Office. You can still park and walk down there but you probably won't be able to drive down there anymore," said Alan Bland, Park Ranger, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Although this spot represents heartbreak, Collins said she will never stop coming to Beaver Lake because it's where she feels connected to her son.

"This will be a place a to come, besides his grave, to be with him and to throw his rocks in the water for him," said Collins.

Bland says in Beaver Lake's history only three deaths were not drownings. Two people were struck and killed by lightning and a teenager was killed while riding a jet ski.




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