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‘Zack’s Law’ proposed to turn family's tragedy into lesson

Zack Rager drowned in the Chehalis River last March. A coroner determined the teen suffered cold water shock, which made him unable to swim.

LEWIS COUNTY, Wash. — Zack Rager was an athlete and a good swimmer.

But none of that mattered when the 18-year-old went for a swim in the Chehalis River last March.

Rager drowned after the Lewis County Coroner determined the teen suffered cold water shock.

”As soon Zachary hit the water, he yelled for help and said he couldn’t move,” said Rager’s mother, Kim Hines.

His body started to shut down seconds after hitting the water, which was likely below 50 degrees, said Hines.

”I had never heard of cold water shock until I lost my son,” a tearful Hines told state Senators during a legislative hearing Thursday.

She and her husband, Zack’s stepfather Lee Hines, are trying to get a law passed to allow the posting of warning signs on bridges above waterways where cold water shock is a risk.

”There are signs that say, ‘No Jumping. No Swimming.’ But I think these kids need to know why,” said Lee Hines.

If passed, it would be known as “Zack’s Law.”

”He was always helping everybody and for a sign to be here,” said Kim Hines, “My Zack is still helping people, saving other families, that would mean the world to me.”

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