UPDATE Friday, Nov. 17, 2017
A resolution in support of the proposed Eric's Law was approved by the Blount County Commission at their meeting Thursday night.
Commissioner Shawn Carter said they will send the resolution to the Tennessee General Assembly.
Eric’s Law is a duty to report law. Eric Ashby, 31, is originally from Blount County and got swept away in a rafting accident in Colorado last summer. A witness called 911, but Eric’s family said the friends he was with did not.
ORIGINAL STORY Friday, Nov. 11, 2017
A Blount County father is hoping lawmakers will consider a "duty to report" law after his son went missing in Colorado this summer.
According to investigators, Eric Ashby, 31, was swept away in a rafting accident, and hasn't been seen since.
Paul Ashby said he raised Eric in Blount County, and Eric just moved to Colorado last year.
"Eric's heart was bigger than his whole body," Ashby said.
According to the Fremont County Sheriff's Office in Colorado, Eric Ashby was rafting with friends on the Arkansas River when he was swept away, and the others made it to safety. A nearby witness saw Ashby and called 911. Crews began searching, but family and friends of Ashby wonder why his friends didn't call 911 right away or let the family know about Eric until 10 days after the accident.
"And I was sitting in the middle of the wedding and they called me and they said, 'Paul, your son is dead,'" Ashby said.
Allison Bennett is a friend of Ashby's, and when she heard the news, she wanted to do something.
"I don't want anybody to go through what his friends and family have went through," Bennett said.
Bennett started a Change.org petition to create a "duty to report" law in honor of Eric, which "requires anyone who witnesses a dangerous situation where someone's life is in danger to immediately, within the best of their ability, call 911," according to the petition.
She teamed up with Blount County Commissioner Shawn Carter to draft a resolution, which was presented at the Blount County Commissioner’s Board Agenda Committee this week.
Almost all the commissioners voted to move the resolution forward, and the Commissioners will vote to take it to the Tennessee General Assembly next week.
"We should continue to push it and perpetuate it so that it spreads because everybody needs this, it's a common sense law," Carter said.
For Paul Ashby, he's just hoping something good will come from his son's loss.
"So myself and his friends, we're going to make Eric's life worth it," Ashby said.
Ashby said his family made a memorial for Eric in the UT Gardens.