Ann Arbor boy who drowned in Huron River identified as sophomore at Pioneer

ANN ARBOR – The boy who died from drowning in the Huron River on Wednesday has been identified.

Ann Arbor Public Schools Superintendent Jeanice Swift sent out a district announcement on Thursday and revealed the boy who perished in the incident was Alex Walker, a 10th grader at Pioneer High School.

Walker was with a group of friends from Pioneer and Skyline high schools at Bandemer Park when he jumped off the Amtrak bridge into the river and didn’t surface, according to city officials.

Nearby kayakers saw the incident and came to help retrieve the boy, who received first aid by emergency personnel and was transported to University of Michigan hospital in critical condition, but with a pulse, according to Ann Arbor police. He was pronounced dead Wednesday evening.

Walker has been an AAPS student since he entered fourth grade at Burns Park Elementary. He later attended Tappan Middle School and started his freshman year at Pioneer in 2020. He was a member of the Pioneer track and football teams and “always had a smile on his face,” according to Swift’s statement.

Read: Ann Arbor authorities discourage bridge jumping after tragedy on Huron River

One of Walker’s siblings graduated from Pioneer, and he has one sibling currently attending the high school and one at Tappan.

Ann Arbor fire chief Mike Kennedy spoke to A4 on Wednesday night and warned of the dangers of jumping into the river.

“There’s a huge lack of appreciation for how dangerous that river is,” said Kennedy. “There’s trees and debris and -- depending on rain fall -- the current changes. People think it’s this kind of tranquil river and it’s anything but.”

“We are all deeply saddened by the loss of Alex,” wrote Swift. “Please reach out and support each other. Remember that this hard news affects everyone differently. Sometimes it hits hard even for students, parents and staff who did not know Alex personally.”

About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.