$6M Settlement in Teen’s Drowning Death in Apartment Complex Pool

The family of a 14-year-old boy who drowned in an apartment complex swimming pool in Swatara Township near Harrisburg in June 2015 has reached a $6 million settlement with several defendants in connection with the boy’s death.

The boy, Benjamin Dodoo, died June 17, 2015, while he swam in a pool at the Aspen Hill Apartment complex in the 5000 block of Stacey Drive East in Swatara Township, Dauphin County, according to an earlier report by PennLive.com.

The swimming pool had on-duty lifeguards when the boy drowned, “but they were situated too far from the pool and were unable to observe the swimmers properly,” according to a May 31 story in The Legal Intelligencer. At some point that day “patrons saw that Dodoo was at the bottom of the pool and had been there ‘for a considerable amount of time.’ Another pool patron then swam to the bottom to get him out of the pool, and found him unresponsive,” the story continued.

The lifeguards on duty, Vanessa Jelyzkova and Ozlem Suel, “looked on, unsure as to what was happening and what they were supposed to do” as the victim was being pulled from the pool, according to the plaintiff’s complaint as reported by The Legal Intelligencer. “One of the patrons began performing chest compressions, the complaint said, and Jelyzkova eventually began providing CPR. Suel made no effort to assist in the resuscitation, the plaintiffs alleged.”

Eventually, Jelyzkova was “brushed aside by a patron with CPR training” after the lifeguard was “observed improperly providing compressions to Benjamin Dodoo’s abdomen,” the story reported.

Paramedics arrived and tried to resuscitate the boy, but were unsuccessful and he was pronounced dead, the story reported.

Dodoo’s parent’s, Eric Doku and Comfort Dodoo, filed a wrongful death lawsuit in connection with the incident against Chambers Ridge, the apartment complex owner; Altman Management Co., the property manager; Aquasafe Pool Management Inc., the pool management and safety contractor; and both of the lifeguards, the story reported. The lawsuit alleged that the lifeguards were improperly hired, trained and inadequately equipped by the defendants. The lawsuit also sought damages for negligent infliction of emotional distress, loss of consortium and breach of contract.

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