Sterling Heights man drowns while swimming at Stony Creek

By: Joshua Gordon | C&G Newspapers | Published July 2, 2018

File photo by Deb Jacques

SHELBY TOWNSHIP — A 20-year-old Sterling Heights man who was pulled from Stony Creek Lake during the evening June 30 and taken to the hospital after being underwater for approximately 15 minutes died July 1, according to the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office.

Around 8 p.m. June 30, the Macomb County Sheriff's Office received a call regarding two men swimming in Stony Creek Lake at Stony Creek Metropark who were struggling to stay above water. Deputies were dispatched to the park, along with police from the Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority Police Department.

One of the two men, a 20-year-old Warren man whom police did not name, made it to shore safely with the assistance of a nearby boater. The second man, identified by the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office as Rayven Elia, 20, of Sterling Heights, was located by search and rescue personnel.

According to police, Elia had been underwater for approximately 15 minutes before being brought to shore, at which time CPR was performed and he was transported to the hospital. Elia died early on July 1, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Macomb County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Renee Yax said that the two men are believed to have become tangled in some heavy vegetation while swimming that caused them to get stuck and struggle to stay afloat.

Yax said the two men were swimming off the Winter Cove picnic area, which includes two pavilions on the southwest side of the lake. They were not with a boat and Yax said that alcohol is not believed to be involved.

Neither man was wearing a life jacket.

“Obviously, we always want everyone to wear their life jacket in the water,” Yax said. “It definitely would have saved this man.”

The incident remained under investigation by the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office.