Metro-East News

Granite City woman drowns on weekend float trip

A 48-year old Granite City woman drowned after the inflatable tube on which she was floating struck a sunken stump and capsized.

Sherrie A. Baker was pronounced dead at 1:53 p. m. Friday by Shannon County Deputy Coroner Hunter Warren, Missouri State Highway Patrol Sgt. Jeff Kinder said. The fatal drowning incident happened an hour earlier.

Baker’s tube got caught on a submerged stump, sending her into the water. She surfaced once before going under again, Kinder said.

Kinder said the area where Baker was floating, Shawnee Creek, five miles south of Eminence, has experienced high water due to heavy spring rain. Flooding, he said, has brings added debris into the river, he said.

“It has caused us safety problems,” Kinder said. “A couple of months ago , we had another fatality when a woman who was in a kayak struck a log and was ejected from her kayak.”

Baker was a certified nurses assistant for Morningside of Troy, an assisted living center for seniors. She and her husband, Johnny Baker, had two children and four grandchildren.

An incident report from the Missouri Highway Patrol shows that a 44-year old Fenton, Mo. woman, who was Kayaking on the Black River was the victim of a fatal boating accident.

The report said she “struck a submerged log while kayaking and was ejected from the kayak. She became lodged against the submerged log and was pulled under the water.”

Neither Baker, or the kayaker on the Black River were wearing a life jacket, Kinder said. Life jackets are provided by outfitters who rent canoes and tubes to floaters, but warnings about wearing them often go unheeded, he said.

“People get all kinds of information all of the time. We always talk about it and tell them to have a plan,” Kinder said.

It was unclear to Kinder if Baker had rented the tube she was on, or if it was her own. He said the stretch of river on which she drowned is “ a canoe stream, but I have seen people float on other things.”

“If it will float, they will ride down the river on it,” Kinder said.

Missouri State Highway Patrol officers were assisted by two other Missouri State Highway patrol members who are marine enforcement officers. Also, a member of the National Park Service assisted Missouri State Police, Kinder said.

Baker’s body was taken to Yarber Funeral Home in Mountain View, Missouri.