Palatine teen accidentally drowns in Wisconsin

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A 19-year-old man from northwest suburban Palatine drowned Friday on Whitewater Lake in Wisconsin. (WLS)

A 19-year-old man from northwest suburban Palatine drowned Friday on Whitewater Lake in Wisconsin.

The man was identified as Courtland Cornelius, who had just completed his first year studying criminal justice at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wis.

Police responded to a call of a water-related emergency around 5:30 p.m. Friday, according to the Walworth County Sheriff's Office.

Cornelius was swimming with a friend in pursuit of a drifting watercraft. The friend told police that Cornelius became distressed and went under, authorities said.

Divers recovered Cornelius' body around 10 p.m.

A statement from Carthage College President John Swallow described Cornelius as "a valued member of the Carthage track and field team." He said the teen ran a record-setting 4x100 meter relay race in early May.

Carthage track coach Josh Henry called Cornelius "a dedicated student, a talented athlete and an extremely promising young man."

The victim's brother, Kendric Cornelius, also attended Carthage. He said family was the most important thing to his brother.

"He loved and cared for everyone, especially family. When it came to family he would do anything to make sure that we were taken care of," Kendric Cornelius said.

He said Courtland was stand-out athlete, who played football and competed in track and field at Palatine High School. He had hoped to make it to the NFL.

A memorial service is planned for Saturday in Arlington Heights.
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