Man dies July 4 in apparent drowning


A 27-year-old Port Neches resident died on Independence Day, July 4, in a possible drowning at a Neches River sandbar in Vidor.

On Wednesday, July 4, at 7:20 p.m., the Orange County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a possible drowning at the Neches River sandbar at the end of Mansfield Ferry Road in south Vidor.

Upon arrival, deputies learned that a man had been found unresponsive in the river by one of his friends. According to witnesses, the victim and his friends launched their boat at Port Neches Park and drove their boat to the sandbar. There were numerous boats parked and anchored at the location with people enjoying the day at the sandbar.

Several witnesses said that the victim had his pet boa constrictor with him and was walking around the sandbar showing the snake to the kids and allowing them to take pictures holding it. The victim brought his snake back to the boat, which was anchored about 20 yards off of the bank in 4 feet of water. The victim then headed back to the sandbar.

After about 30 minutes his friends on the boat went to look for him as he had not returned and they were ready to leave to go and watch a fireworks show. As one of the friends was walking from the boat to the sandbar, he found the victim unresponsive in the water.

Several people came over and helped remove the victim from the water, began CPR and called 911. The Vidor Fire Department and Acadian Ambulance responded to the scene and continued with life saving efforts but were not successful in reviving the victim.

Orange County Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Janice Menard responded and pronounced the victim deceased at the scene. Menard ordered an inquest, and the victim was transported to the Jefferson County Morgue where an autopsy will be performed.

The victim has been identified as Richard Shultz III, a 27-year-old Port Neches resident.