Shane's Law aims to encourage life jacket use


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) — It's been a little more than two months since Della Thomas' world came to a standstill.

"I know he wasn't ready to go," she said. "The accident...could have been prevented."

Her son, Shane Shomidie, was supposed to go kayaking with friends and then help Thomas movie into her new apartment. At some point, he ended up in the murky waters of the Sangamon River. He never resurfaced.

Authorities found his body 10 days later.

Thomas now wants to cement her son's legacy.

"A life jacket could have prevented the accident and saved his life," she said.

Shane's Law would require everyone in a watercraft — no matter the age — to wear a life jacket at all times.

"A lot of people I think get the idea...'I'm a great swimmer. I can do anything,'" Thomas said.

Thomas is no rookie when it comes to legislation either. She worked for 10 years in the Illinois House of Representatives drafting the same type of legislation she's working on now.

No one in the statehouse has sponsored the bill just yet. But Thomas is hopeful a sponsor will come around to keep her son's legacy fighting for others.

"He could've easily gotten out of there," Thomas said. "If he would've had a life vest, he would still be here."

Current Conditions