Pastor offers insight on Fort Worth drowning victim




Posted on July 6, 2010 at 8:04 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 7 at 5:28 PM

FORT WORTH — We're learning more about Monday's deadly accident at Fort Worth's Trinity Park.

Richard and Sandra Walker were at the park with two children they were planning to adopt. Then — one of the children fell in the Trinity River.

The Walkers jumped in to rescue the girl. Richard drowned; Sandra remains hospitalized after being saved by a passing bicyclist who also saved the child.

Friends of the family say that Good Samaritan is a life-saving miracle.

The Walkers are devout Christians and leaders at their church in Mount Vernon. Their pastor told News 8 that the Walkers came forward during services on Sunday, and he felt the need to say some extra prayers for them — not knowing what would happen the next day.

The pastor said those prayers are what may have cyclist Jeff Harrison to Trinity Park at that instant to save Sandra Walker and the child.

"I noticed the guy was in the current, and he just wouldn't get out of the current," Harrison said.

Sandra Walker met her rescuer at the hospital on Monday night. She was moved out of the intensive care unit on Tuesday and listed in fair condition, but her husband Richard did not survive.

Their pastor told News 8 he knew Richard Walker as a strong man, but not a strong swimmer — and said he's not surprised Richard gave his life for his wife and the seven-year-old girl they had hoped to adopt.

The Walkers' visit to Trinity Park was supposed to put them one step closer to adopting that girl and her eight-year-old brother.When the little girl slipped on the rocks, Sandra and Richard dived in after her.

The Walkers are youth ministers at their church in Mount Vernon, with two grown children and a recently adopted eight-year-old son. They are known as giving, quiet people.

Richard's employer — Keller's Creamery in Winnsboro — remembers him as "a devoted husband and co-worker, a special individual."

Child Protective Services says it is aware of what happened on the Trinity River, but it doesn't know how Richard's death will affect the adoption process for the brother and sister in their care.

Now Walkers' church family is praying for another miracle.