What started a few days ago for Angela Caverly as a family vacation to a rented Toms River home to enjoy the New Jersey shore a few days has ended with funeral plans. It’s unthinkable. Her 18-year-old son Levi is gone, killed when a giant 10-foot-deep hole he and his sister dug out of the sand using frisbees had its walls collapse in on him.

His 17-year-old sister survived with minor injuries but the mental scars will be horrific. It happened near Seaview Road and Chadwick Beach in the Ocean Beach III section.

Frantic 911 calls poured in around 4 p.m. Tuesday about people being trapped under the sand. First responders from Toms River, Lavalette and Seaside Heights came together along with the Ocean County sheriff’s and prosecutor’s offices to help. Levi’s body wasn’t recovered until 7 p.m.

Officials say it was the kind of thing lifeguards would normally stop people from doing. This happened in the off-season when no lifeguards are on duty.

What a tragic situation.

I would imagine many people don’t realize the danger of digging in sand. And it makes me think how many of us did incredibly stupid things when we were young that felt far more dangerous than this. Kids who "hood surfed." Kids who played with M-80s. Heck, half the things that went in at Action Park in the 1980s seemed more dangerous.

It hardly feels fair.

Those of us from a generation older than Levi’s had unbridled freedom at which we look back on and marvel at how we survived. Kids at 5 years old wandering neighborhoods alone. No seat belts in cars or riding in the beds of pick-ups. Full driver’s license the moment you passed your road test with none of this graduated probationary business. Drinking not being taken as seriously, Roman candle fights, hitchhiking, etc.

Almost always we came out of it just fine. Yet it’s like we were asking for it. All Levi Caverly was asking for was a day at the beach with his sister.

Our hearts go out to the Caverly family. The part of New Jersey that brings us such peace has brought this out-of-state family so much pain.

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