Police increase patrols after drowning

SPRING TOWNSHIP — The man who died Friday evening at the Bellefonte Quarry was Terry Shawley, a 34-year-old Bellefonte resident who grew up in the area.His death was ruled an accidental drowning, Deputy Coroner Judy Pleskonko said Saturday. Police said earlier that Shawley, visiting the illegal swimming hole with two boys, apparently took a high dive near some jagged rocks about 6:30 p.m.It’s at least the third drowning death there since July 1978.Reached Saturday evening, Shawley’s mother, Patricia Shawley, said her son had many friends and was well-liked and well-known. He is survived also by two sisters and a brother.Back in Spring Township, police stepped up patrols of the quarry, owned by Graymont Inc. A police helicopter flew overhead, part of a security detail scheduled before the Friday incident, state police at Rockview said.State police said they have noticed a recent surge in trespassers at the site and have been trying to crack down. Spring Township police arrested at least two trespassers Saturday, making good on Police Chief David King’s promise Friday night to apprehend unwelcome visitors.”People who are from around here, lived here all their lives, know the dangers,” said Terry Reese, who lives in the adjacent Brockerhoff Heights II development, off Jacksonville Road. “That’s what’s sad — being local and knowing what the dangers are.”No-trespassing signs surround the 80-year-old quarry, which is rumored to hold junk cars and an old railroad car on its deep bottom. But Reese said that “people are going to defy postings.” Penn State students and Centre Countians have frequented the spot for years.Tending to his barbecue grill Saturday afternoon, Reese said he wonders why local quarries haven’t been reclaimed somehow and made useless for recreational trespassers.”It’s not like they (Graymont) are ever going to use them again,” Reese said.Across the street, Mary Jane Schreffler said she long ago warned her kids about the quarry.”We laid down the ground rules: You don’t go over there, and you don’t need to go there,” Schreffler said. She grew up in the Zion area, she said, but has never gone swimming at the quarry.Abandoned decades ago, the Bellefonte Quarry attracts not only swimmers but also rock climbers. A search for “Bellefonte Quarry” on online search site Google turns up 165 results. Many pages feature photos. On one discussion board, someone recommends cliff-jumping — for fun — at the quarry. And a “nudist quarry” site includes a Bellefonte Quarry entry.Zach Stroud, 21, of Bellefonte, said he’s been to the quarry once but doesn’t care to return. He said graffiti mars the rock walls. Some of it appears satanic, he said.”It’s a beautiful area,” Stroud said. “But people get drunk, throw the beer cans everywhere.”

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