Northwood graduate dies in accidental drowning incident

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Update: This story has been updated from its original version to include information from the Chapel Hill Police Department about the incident. 

CHAPEL HILL — A 2022 Northwood graduate died in an accidental drowning incident in Chapel Hill Thursday. 

Christian Poteat Jr., who played lacrosse and football at Northwood, was swimming at Eastwood Lake Thursday afternoon, according to Chapel Hill Police Department. 

“At around 2:20 p.m., the Chapel Hill Police and Fire Departments, along with Orange County Emergency Services, responded to a report of a drowning in Eastwood Lake near South Lakeshore Drive and Markham Drive,” Chapel Hill Police Department said in a statement to the News + Record. “An 18-year-old patient was treated at the scene and transported to UNC Hospitals, where further resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful. Based on numerous witness accounts, we do not believe the drowning to be suspicious.”

Chatham County Schools issued a statement after Poteat’s death was made public.

“Our hearts are with Christian’s family and friends,” the CCS statement said. “We have counselors available for anyone in the CCS family who needs support through this difficult time. This was a joyous time in his life and those who guided him through high school to graduation. We mourn with the family in this loss.”

Northwood Principal Dr. Bradford Walston also expressed condolences Friday morning.  

“Christian was a vivacious student with a magnetic smile and personality,” Walston said. “His presence in our community will be missed. That his passing comes so soon after the accomplishment of high school graduation is a tragedy beyond words.”

CCS encouraged students, parents and community members to support one another during this time.

“Students, we ask that you be there for one another in the face of this loss,” the CCS statement said. “If you need anything, please do not hesitate to reach out to the school. We will be there for you.”

Members of the Northwood community expressed their condolences on social media. 

“Christian had so much life to live and his was cut far too short,” Northwood Sports Medicine Trainer Jackie Harpham posted on Instagram. “I wish we could see you grow up and reach your goals. I knew you could do it. We will miss you so much. Watch over your Northwood family.”


"Parents, please take time to check in on your children," CCS officials said. "The loss of a young life reminds us of the preciousness of time we have with one another. Northwood counselors and administration are reachable by phone and email. We have supports available at Northwood on Monday for anyone who is in need."
This is a breaking news story and details will be added as they become available
Reporter Ben Rappaport can be reached or on Twitter @b_rappaport
Northwood, Christian Poteat Jr., Chatham County Schools


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