Rockbridge Co. man claims he contracted flesh eating bacteria in Maury River

SAMSUNG (Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved)

ROCKBRIDGE COUNTY (WSLS 10) - A Rockbridge County man claims he contracted a flesh eating bacteria in the Maury River.

James Lee Crawford says he went to the river at Ben Salem Wayside to go swimming with his family at the beginning of June.

"Just a typical summer day," said Crawford. "I had the kids in the water swimming and sometime while I was swimming I scratched my foot. Thought nothing about it. Went home."

However three days later his leg got worse. He went to the doctors and after several tests was told he contracted a flesh eating bacteria.

"It swell up really big to the point where my skin was about to bust," said Crawford.

Doctors told him he got a water borne bacterial infection, and Crawford believes the only place he could've gotten it is at the river.

We reached out to several departments including the Rockbridge County Administrator.

"We put him in contact with the Virginia Department of Health and DEQ, and I followed up this morning to make sure those contacts have been made," said Spencer Suter, Rockbridge County Administrator.

The health department is also looking into Crawford's claim. They're working with him to investigate if in fact his infection is from something in the water.

Meanwhile Crawford has undergone surgery to save his leg. He's recovering and said while the Ben Salem Wayside is a place he has fond memories growing up he won't be back in it to swim again.

"We grew up in the river swimming, kayaking, and we never dreamt of anything being in the water," said Crawford.

Crawford claims are still under investigation.

The Natural Bridge Volunteer Fire Department has set up a cakewalk for him to help raise money for the family. It's on August 22 at 6 p.m.