Suit filed in 5-year-old's drowning


The  mother of a 5-year-old who drowned at Memorial Park Natatorium in July is suing the city of Jasper and the lifeguards who were on duty at the time of the incident.

A lawsuit was filed on Thursday in Walker County Circuit Court by attorneys Matt Glover and Coe Baxter of the Tuscaloosa law firm Prince Glover Hayes on behalf of Emily Dykes, mother of Faithlynn Blankenship.

According to the lawsuit, the lifeguards can be seen on surveillance video "leaving their post,  not paying attention to those swimming, ignoring Faithlynn Blankenship in distress, not rescuing her and failing to provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation."

The lawsuit also states that Blankenship was under water for five minutes, and the lifeguard closest to her abandoned his post during this time. Blankenship was pulled from the water by another patron at the pool. The lifeguards never entered the water, according to the suit.

During a press conference held hours after the drowning, Jasper Police Chief J.C. Poe said eight lifeguards were on duty at the Natatorium, three of whom were working supervisors. He said the city-paid lifeguards are state certified, including with CPR techniques.

The lifeguards are not named because their identities are not currently known, according to the suit. The suit also names "those entities, persons, firms, corporations or partnerships who trained or certified those individual lifeguards who were on duty at the Memorial Park Natatorium" as defendants.

The lawsuit demands judgment against the city of Jasper, the lifeguards and those who trained or certified them in an amount to be determined by a jury.