Four Year Old Autistic Boy Dies in an Apartment Swimming Pool Drowning
Our apartment complex swimming pool lawyer was saddened to hear The Boston Globe report that another young child has become the victim of a drowning. On May 13th four year old Alexie Lepoer drowned in the murky pool of the Park Village West Complex in Worcester, Massachusetts. Lepoer had been seen walking along around the pool area of his apartment complex unattended prior to the drowning, and according to maintenance crews, the boy had been seen wandering around the complex alone before.
It is believed that the severely autistic Lepoer pushed out the window screen of his parent’s first floor apartment and made his way to the pool area. He was clothed in a T-shirt and diaper when he left the apartment and was carrying a toy phone. The toy and diaper were found near a loose section of the chain-link fence that surrounds the pool. It is believed Lepoer crawled under the fence at this loose section.
A representative of Lepoer’s family said they believed that he went missing at about 3:40 p.m. and that it took the family ten minutes to realize that he was gone. The family called police just before 5:00 p.m. to report the boy as missing. He was found thirty minutes later submerged in the pool. First responders attempted to revive him at the scene, and he was transported to UMass Memorial Medical Center where he was pronounced dead. The state medical examiner is performing an autopsy.
The pool had not been opened this year, and the gate surrounding it was reportedly locked at all times. However, the water was incredibly murky with only two feet of visibility. The pool had been inspected in August by town regulator, and the fence was deemed in proper working order upon a visual inspection. Paul McNulty, Director of Public Health for Worcester has stated that his department has begun closer inspections of fences and noticed similar problems with pool fencing. The question still remains, however, as to how the child was able to access the water if it was supposed to be locked at all times. It will be important for those involved to ensure a full investigation is conducted to provide real answers.
Although swimming pools can be dangerous for all people, they are especially dangerous for children under the age of 14. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional death for children up to age 14, and children four and under have the highest drowning rates. Our Texas swimming pool drowning lawyer believes that because of this high likelihood of accidents in this age range it is vital that specific precautions be taken by pool owners and operators. This is especially true when owners or operators know young children are in the area with access to the water, such as in this case