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City of Jasper Named in Wrongful Death Suit After 5-Year-Old Girl Drowned in Community Pool

— November 14, 2019

After her 5-year-old daughter drowned in a community pool, Emily Dykes has decided to sue the city of Jasper, the lifeguards who were on duty during the incident, and others.

Losing a child is never easy, especially when the death could have been prevented. Unfortunately, one family recently faced the devastating loss of a child when their five-year-old daughter, Faithlynn Blankenship, drowned at a community pool in the city of Jasper. As a result of the fatal accident, the child’s mother, Emily Dykes, filed a lawsuit against the city, alleging negligence in her daughter’s death.

Image of a drowning warning sign
Drowning warning sign; image courtesy of
OpenClipart-Vectors via Pixabay,

The suit itself was filed in Walker County Circuit Court by Dykes’ attorneys, Matt Glover and Coe Baxter. The lawsuit alleges the lifeguards at Memorial Park Natatorium, along with the city, were negligent in Faithlynn’s death. At the moment Dykes is seeking a jury trial and damages. But what happened? How did a child drown at a community pool with lifeguards present?

For starters, the incident occurred back on July 6, 2019. According to Glover and Baxter, the incident was captured on surveillance video and shows the lifeguards on duty leaving their post. Additionally, it shows the lifeguards “not paying attention to those swimming, ignoring Faithlynn Blankenship in distress, not rescuing her, and failing to provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation.” The suit states:

“In total, Faithlynn Blankenship was underwater for over five minutes. During this time, the lifeguard closest to Faithlynn Blankenship abandoned his post. Faithlynn Blankenship sinks to the bottom of the pool. Her body is retrieved by another patron at the pool.”

After she was retrieved from the pool, the child was rushed to Walker Baptist Medical Center but was pronounced dead upon arrival. When commenting on the incident shortly after it happened, Jasper Police Chief J.C. Poe said all the lifeguards on duty “were state-certified and trained, and that three of the eight were supervisors.” He added that the “city’s lifeguard training program and procedures will be reviewed to prevent tragedies like this from happening in the future.” For now, the incident is still under investigation.

In addition to naming the lifeguards as defendants, the suit names the city of Jasper. According to Glover and Baxter, the city “owed it to the patrons of Memorial Park Natatorium to keep everyone safe while they were swimming, as well as hire and train competent employees to serve as lifeguards.” The suit states, “Defendant City of Jasper breached these duties…As a direct and proximate result, Faithlynn Blankenship died.”

Additionally, the suit names the “entities, persons, firms, corporations or partnerships who trained or certified those individual lifeguards who were on duty at the Memorial Park Natatorium.”


Family files lawsuit against Jasper for 5-year-old girl’s drowning

Suit filed in 5-year-old’s drowning

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