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Clover Man Dies In Fishing Accident

An early morning fishing trip Wednesday turned deadly for a Clover man, according to Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) officials. Divers recovered the body of Ruben Owen Williams, 70, of 2067 Chester Road from a private pond at 8:10 p.m. Wednesday after a six-hour search on land and water by DGIF Conservation Police Officers and personnel with Halifax County Emergency Services, the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office and Triangle Volunteer Fire Department, DGIF spokesman Ron Messina said Thursday.

Williams left home at 6:30 Wednesday morning to fish in a private pond that belongs to his neighbor Frank Longo, Messina said. Around 1:30 p.m. Longo noticed Williams’ truck was still parked there, and he went to the pond and noticed Williams’ empty boat in the middle of the pond, the spokesman added.

Longo checked with Williams’ wife, who called 911 at 1:56 p.m. to report Williams missing, Messina said. Sheriff Stanley Noblin, Investigators Jimmy Clay and Tommy Spencer, Lt. Seth Bowen and Cpl. Chris Yeatts responded to the scene, along with Halifax Emergency Services Coordinator Kirby Saunders, Conservation Police Officer Brandon Harris and Triangle Fire and Rescue personnel.

After a search of the land surrounding the pond revealed nothing, Harris and Clay searched the pond in a canoe and located a floating seat cushion, a boat paddle and a hat floating on the surface, Harris said.

They called in two DGIF divers, Jeremy Hood and Eric Dotterer, both from Pittsylvania County, and Halifax County Emergency Services diver Chad Loftis, Harris said. The divers arrived at approximately 4 p.m. and began the underwater search of the pond.

Divers located Williams’ body at 8:10 p.m., Messina said. “Mr. Williams was not wearing a life jacket, and there was not one in the boat,” the spokesman said.

Williams’ body was taken to Halifax Regional Hospital, and it later was sent to the State Medical Examiner’s Office in Richmond for autopsy, Harris said.

“The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries encourages all boaters and fishermen to wear a life jacket when on the water,” Messina said. “It can save your life.”

A funeral for Williams, a retired taxidermist, will be held Sunday at 2 p.m. in the Brooks Funeral Home Chapel. Burial will follow in Oak Ridge Cemetery.