$1.2 Million Settlement in Child's Drowning
Judge Bill Taylor of the Circuit Court of Cook County approved a $1.2 million settlement which the Village of Prospect Heights Park District agreed to pay the family of a 5-year-old boy who drowned in 1997. The case had been on trial and the plaintiff had put on a number of witnesses when the settlement was reached.
Jimmy Danos was 5 years old and was a participant in the Prospect Heights Park District's Big Tot Program along with 13 other campers. He drown on August 8, 1997, while in the care of the camp counselors.
Philip Harnett Corboy, Jr. of the Chicago law firm of Corboy & Demetrio, an attorney for the Danos family, said,
Through a tragic convergence of events that could have all been avoided if the Park District had been following its own rules, Jimmy Danos was allowed to walk away from a group activity monitored by 3 high school-age counselors. Park District policy called for one of these counselors to sit at the gate in order to prevent access to the pool. In addition, the Park District's own employees had known that a childproof latch on the gate was broken and had turned that information over to the Park District, but it was not fixed as of the day of Jimmy's drowning. If the Park District had either fixed the gate, or properly monitored these children, all of whom were in their tender years, a beautiful little boy would not have drowned that day. His family will never get over this senseless tragedy."
Corboy states that even as of today's date, the Park District has never been able to offer the Danos family any explanation as to why Jimmy was allowed to leave what was supposed to be a protected area and find his way into the adjacent swimming pool.
Jimmy Danos is survived by his father, mother, an older brother and two younger sisters.