Jesse Bullock Sr, a 37-year-old Illinois man, died this past Thursday after his truck ran off the road and into the Edwards River. Bullock's children, Jesse Bullock Jr. and Nic Bullock, had died in the same river four years earlier.
The children, who were aged 12 and 9 at the time, were playing in the river, but slipped into a steep drop-off. Bullock Sr. said the boys were looking to cool off after a week of working hard in the field before they drowned.
Thomas Bullock, Jesse Sr.'s other son, and their cousin Jaime Vermast, were also in the water at the time. Jaimie was credited with helping the survivors escape.
"It was an accident," Bullock Sr. had told WQAD after the accident. "We knew the risk of letting them go down there. We're country boys. A hot summer day, you go fishing, relax... Me and my friends grew up here. I know a couple hundred people that have been in and out of that water all their lives."
"He tried to save the other two; he couldn't. He didn't have the strength after fighting the current himself and getting Thomas out. He watched them float down," Emily Bullock said. "It was an accident. Nobody's to blame. It was their time."
The cause of Bullock Sr's death is currently under investigation. "The vehicle was in the stream, actually in the stream bed," said Mercer County Sheriff David Staley. "Ironic, I guess that it happened in the same location."
According to Bullock Sr's obituary, he had served as a Navy veteran and volunteer firefighter with the Keithsburg Fire Department. He is survived by his wife Emily and children, Savannah and Thomas.