Families mourn Dixon teens who were killed trying to save dog

DIXON, Calif. (KCRA) — Families and students in Dixon are devastated after learning that two teenage boys were electrocuted on Monday while trying to save a dog.

The Solano County Coroner’s Office identified the teens as 17-year-old Jacob Hermouzos and 17-year-old Jacob Schneider.

“My son is an amazing person and I’m not able to talk about him in a past tense,” Hermouzos’ mother Candy Carrillo said.

Carrillo said her son was one of two boys who died along an irrigation ditch located near Dixon Avenue. The teens were riding 4-wheelers with two other kids, Carrillo said. Somehow, a dog fell into the canal and two boys tried to rescue it.

“They grabbed onto a pipe or a gate that had live wires and they were electrocuted,” Carrillo said.

Carrillo said the water in the irrigation canal was running high and fast.

“The current was up and the current was strong,” she said. “They grabbed onto a gate and when they grabbed onto it, it was hot with electricity and he was electrocuted.”

A California Highway Patrol helicopter was called to the scene, but it was too late to save the boys. They were both pronounced dead at a Vacaville hospital.

“Jacob will always be in my heart,” Hermouzos’ grandmother Joy Branco said.

Officials said the dog, named Ranger, was rescued by the teens and returned to its family.

The family is heartbroken and looking for answers as to how and why this freak accident could have occurred.

Both boys attended Dixon High School, where Jacob Hermouzos was a senior and Jacob Schneider was a junior.

Schneider’s classmate Alizabeth Alvarez said he was always a positive force at school.

“I could always tell from the relationship (Schneider) had with his girlfriend, they were always super happy,” Alvarez said. “(Hermouzos) always had the tendency to make kids laugh and make kids enjoy themselves and make everyone happy. When he was in the room, just light up the room.”

PG&E has shut off the power along the bridge crossing over the irrigation canal. Investigators are now trying to determine exactly how and why the bridge became electrified.

Family and friends of the two boys are struggling for answers.

“He passed away (Monday) and now we are planning his funeral,” Carrillo said.

“He knows I loved him and I’m going to miss him,” Branco said.

On Tuesday, the Dixon Unified School District offered grief counseling for students and teachers who knew the two boys, even though schools are on spring break.

“We had our mental health team on-site to offer support to students,” school district Superintendent Brian Dolan said. “And then next week, when school is in, we offer the same thing on campus.”

The grief has been difficult to process for so many people in the small town of Dixon.

“Hearing about death and loss brings up a lot of feelings for people,” said Sana Akhtar, a mental health counselor with the school district.

For a shell-shocked community, there is truly a need for emotional support.

“Everyone is making sure that we are all praying and hoping that these families have their time to grieve,” Alvarez said, adding that it’s important for families to know, “that we are there for everyone that really needs it.”

A vigil for the boys was held Tuesday night at a skateboard park in Dixon. About 200 people attended.

This story originally appeared on KCRA.

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Families-mourn-Dixon-teens-who-were-killed-trying-13738169.php.

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