Boating accident claims 3 city residents

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 17, 2006

A cloud of sadness cloaked the Hosier Road community Monday as residents learned that three neighbors n a 53-year-old man and his two young sons n perished in a boating accident over the weekend.

Lewis McLean and his sons, 14-year-old Kelton Troup and 8-year-old Desmond McLean, went fishing on the James River Saturday. The U.S. Coast Guard launched its search around 11 p.m. Saturday when their 23-foot boat, the Reel Naughty, was reported missing, said Petty Officer Kip Wadlow, an agency spokesman.

Searchers discovered the body of Lewis McLean around 11 a.m. Sunday, one mile south of the James River Bridge, Wadlow said. The Coast Guard suspended its search around 7 p.m. Sunday.


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The bodies of the two boys were found shortly after midnight in the Chesapeake Bay, near a pier at Naval Station Norfolk, Wadlow said.

The family’s blue-and-white boat was found grounded near the boarder of Surry and Isle of Wight counties, near the anchorage of the James River Reserve Fleet, around 10 a.m. Sunday, he said.

Family members gathered at the McLean’s newly built Hosier Road home declined to comment Monday. Tonya and Lewis McLean and their three children moved to the rural southern Suffolk community from Hampton several months ago.

“It’s not a good time,” said Evelyn Booker, a neighbor who has spent time with Tonya McLean in the past couple of days. “It is just devastating … and she’s pretty broken up right now.”

Desmond McLean often played with her 9-year-old grandson, Booker said.

“The little one is sure going to be missed in this household. He was such a lovable child … with a big smile.

“They were all beautiful people, … a fine family who was just getting settled here.”

Most neighbors said they hadn’t had the chance to get to know the McLean family, other than to exchange waves and hellos in passing.

“Even so, when there is a tragedy like this, it affects the whole community,” said Sylvia Turner, adding that she often saw the family working in their yard together.

“Whenever you lose someone, it’s a tragedy. But to lose three at one time … I can’t imagine. All you can do is pray for them.”

Neighbors have been on the phone talking about ways to help the family all morning, she added.

Another neighbor, Catherine Goodman, said she had met Tonya McLean a few times.

“When I see her again, I won’t know what to say,” she said. “This is so painful.”