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'Noah Dean and Nate Act'; proposed bill would decrease chances of being electrocuted in TN lakes

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Morristown, TN (WJHL) - Nate and Noah or Noah and Nate. Their parents said the two Morristown kids fit together perfectly like a pair of LEGOs, but the two were killed back in 2012 while they were swimming at a Tennessee marina.

Now, one of their mothers is trying to prevent a similar tragedy from happening again. News Channel 11 met up with her at the children's gravesite. Their headstones are formed like the children's favorite toys, a pair of LEGOs.

Jessica Winstead, Noah's mom, got the ball rolling with local legislators on a bill called the 'Noah Dean and Nate Act'. It was introduced on January 22, 2014, now it's pending the Senate Energy, Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, but she's still trying to get the word out.

Noah Winstead and Nate Lynam, they were best friends enjoying the summer of 2012 before heading to the fifth grade.

"Jumping in the water, swimming and just having a normal summer day for them," said Jessica. "Noah enjoyed the lake a lot."

It was Fourth of July of that year the two were celebrating at Cherokee Lake with friends and family. Then Noah's mom got a dreaded call from Nate's grandmother, "she said there's been an accident."

Jessica rushed to the local hospital, but her ten-year-old was gone.

"I didn't quite understand what happened and it was months later until I really understood that Noah had been electrocuted," she said.

Electricity can come from several places at the lake including pedestals, pumps or boat lifts.

Jessica told News Channel 11, "in our case it came from the boat, too much electricity leaked from the boat and there for got in the water and electrocuted Nate and Noah."

Noah died instantly, he took the brunt of the shock, and nate died a day later, but others felt it too.

Just a couple of hours earlier and more than 700 miles away two brothers in Missouri were also killed after they were electrocuted near a private dock in the Lake of the Ozarks.

Back in Tennessee, the proposal specifically calls for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters, or G.F.C.I., to be installed at each boat slip in a public marina.

Jessica said if "too much electricity is being leaked out it will shut off that flow of electricity."

The 'Noah Dean and Nate Act' is specifically geared toward public docks in Tennessee.

"Hopefully within a couple months this bill will be on the floor and we're voting and I'll be there," said Jessica.

She hopes to get the bill passed by April of 2015. Until then she's trying to get the word out about electricity at marina's with another boating season just months away.

Noah would have turned 12-years-old this Valentine's Day.

Jessica said she's got two things keeping her going after her son's death, this bill and her daughter, Noah's sister.

Last March, West Virginia passed a similar bill called the 'Michael Cunningham Act'. The law ensures that boat docks and marinas are up to date on the National Fire Protection Association and National Electric Code.


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