Flicek defends YMCA safety record

September 20, 1997


Staff Writer

The director of the YMCA in Hagerstown said he believes his staff acted in a "proper and professional manner" when 7-year-old Kari Trumpower was found in at least four feet of water at the pool on Sept. 11.

YMCA executive director Michael Flicek initially would not comment on Trumpower's death Thursday, but he released a one-page statement Friday defending the Y's safety record.

"We believe that our staff reacted to this emergency in a proper and professional manner and acted in an appropriate manner to save this child's life. We have cooperated fully with authorities and believe that their investigation will bear this out," Flicek said in the statement.


"Our reluctance to comment further has been in deference to the official police investigation, to the other agency involved, and - in no small measure - to our concern about the feelings of Kari Trumpower's family," Flicek's statement said.

Trumpower's father, Lloyd Pearson, called for Flicek's resignation Thursday and said he wants assurances that changes have been made so that the Y's pools are safe.

Trumpower never regained consciousness after the accident and died Wednesday after doctors at Johns Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore removed her from life support.

A Herald-Mail reporter who asked to see the pool area Thursday was turned away, and an investigator representing Kari's family said he was not allowed to see where the accident occurred.

Flicek said in his statement that "attempts to display the area of this accident to media cameras could only prolong, embellish, and give inappropriate attention to his tragic accident, adding significantly to this family's grief, and to that of our staff."

Pearson remained critical of the YMCA Friday, saying, "Their system failed and it failed my daughter."

Pearson said if such an accident had happened at a job worksite, it would have been shut down until it was determined what occurred.

After Kari's accident, "it was back to business the next day. It's such a blow to me," said Pearson.

Flicek said in his statement that the YMCA's safety record has been "exemplary," and there have not been any major accidents at the center in 40 years.

Kari's mother, Karen Trumpower, said when she signed her daughter up with Girls Inc., earlier in the month, she indicated on an information card that her daughter could not swim.

Trumpower, of 31 High St., is scheduled to be buried today in the Mountain View Cemetery in Sharpsburg.

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