Melissa Police said an 18-year-old Bonham man died Sunday night after he went swimming with his friends in a rock quarry and panicked as they attempted to cross from one side to the other.
Assistant Chief Roger Thornhill said at approximately 6 p.m. Sunday, emergency crews were dispatched to the abandoned quarry, which sits south of State Highway 121, along FM 2933. Thornhill said Xzavion Epps and six friends from Bonham and McKinney entered the privately-owned quarry without permission and decided to swim across the structure after jumping into the water from a ledge.
“They got about halfway and that’s when the 18-year-old (Epps) got tired and started to panic,” Thornhill said. “They (his friends) tried to help but they couldn’t. He just went under and never resurfaced.”
Dive teams from Collin County, Lewisville and Wylie responded to the scene and recovered Epps’ body after a four-hour search.
Matt Thomas of Southeastern Oklahoma State University’s athletics department confirmed that Epps had completed his freshman year at the school and was a tight end on the Savage Storm football team.
“What happened to Xzavion was a tragedy,” Savage Storm Head Coach Bo Atterberry said in emailed statement. “He was the kind of guy who was liked by everyone and he always had a smile on his face. He worked hard in practice and kept a positive attitude while helping push his teammates to get better. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends as they mourn.”
Former Bonham High School football coach Tony Johnson said he called Epps by his nickname, “X,” and described him as both a great athlete and caring young man.
“The best way to describe X was that he was just always just trying to make you smile and always trying to make you laugh,” Johnson said. “But we also had a lot of real conversations. He was worried about going to college and getting an education, which was important to him. And he wanted to use that to make a difference in his family.”
Johnson said Epps was particularly close with his mother and brother and called on the community to show support for the Epps family.