Jet ski passenger in Rindge lake accident dies

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 6/20/2017 10:40:29 AM

A 29-year-old Bay State resident critically injured in a jet ski accident on Lake Monomonac in Rindge last week has died after being in a coma for four days, according to her family.

Megan Rodriguez, a Fitchburg, Massachusetts resident and Chicago, Illinois native, died Thursday evening at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, where she was suffering from a broken neck, among other “crazy injuries,” according to her aunt, Olga Rodriguez. 

“Megan was loved by a lot of people and she had a heart of gold,” said Olga, who lives in Chicago. “If she had a dollar to her name, she’d give it away to someone who needed it.”

Olga said she will always remember Megan as being a prankster and someone who had a gift with children, including her own. 

“My daughter would follow her around everywhere,” said Olga, who said Megan lived with her for about seven months when she was 15. “We could never punish Megan because it would upset my daughter.”

Walter Rodriguez said Sunday that he and his daughter had recently rekindled their relationship after years apart, and he was happy to be a part of the past couple months of her life.

“This was God’s will, and I’m willing to accept that,” said Vazquez. “She was such a great person, and I’m glad that we got back together.”

Walter said that friends and family gathered on Saturday to release balloons into the sky in honor of Megan, an event that showed him how much people cared about her. 

“There were hundreds of people there from all walks of life,” said Walter. “She was a great kid that had such an impact on so many people.”

Megan’s mother, Daisy Vazquez, said Sunday that her daughter, who had been working at  S & S Concrete Floors in New Ipswich since February, was just getting her life on track, having recently gotten her own place and opened her first bank account. 

“She’s a soldier of God now,” said Vazquez. “It’s a shame that life was so short for her. She was such a great person, and such a hard worker.”

Vazquez said Megan was the type of person who would help anyone in life, saying that if she couldn’t get you whatever you needed that day, she would work extra to buy whatever it was so that you could keep it for yourself. 

Megan’s mother and father are in the midst of planning funeral arraignments and have started a Gofundme page to raise money to get Megan’s body back to her home town so she can have a proper burial. To donate, go to www.gofundme.com/young-wild-and-free.

Megan was air-lifted to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center on the night of June 11 after falling off a jet ski on Lake Monomonac in Rindge earlier in the day, according to information from the NH Marine Patrol. Megan was the rear passenger on the jet ski, which was operated by Joseph E. Ocasio, 31, of Winchendon, Massachusetts, with Toraino A. Pridgen also being listed as a passenger.

Rodriguez was unconscious, not breathing, and didn’t have a pulse when Rindge Police Sergeant Daniel Anair arrived on scene, according to his field report. Upon arrival, he took over CPR and chest compressions. An AED was used at one point, according to his report, but it advised no shock and CPR was continued. 

Marine Patrol said in a press release that Rodriguez became entangled in trope that was being used to tow a tube behind the jet ski. Ocasio and Pridgen told police that they stopped as soon as they realized Rodriguez had fallen off, and transported her to the boat landing next to North of the Border near the New Hampshire/Massachusetts border after flagging down a nearby boat. 

An autopsy was scheduled for Friday, according to a Marine Patrol press release. Messages to Marine Patrol about the status of the autopsy were not returned by press time. 

The incident remains under investigation by the Marine Patrol Bureau. 

Nicholas Handy can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or nhandy@ledgertranscript.com. He is also on Twitter @nhandyMLT. 


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