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Police release report in drowning

July 02, 1999|By DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

Almost two years after Kari Trumpower drowned in a Hagerstown YMCA swimming pool, City Police released their official report on the accident Friday.

The report added some new details about the accident but did not explain exactly why no one saw Trumpower drown.

In the weeks following the drowning, city police had declined repeated requests from The Herald-Mail Co. to see the report.

On Friday Police Capt. Robert Hart, who has been the department's interim chief since May 23, said the report was available. Former Police Chief Dale J. Jones was in charge at the time of the incident.

Hart said that he did not know why the report was not previously released.

According to the police report, Kari was one of a group of girls from Girls Inc. that had gone to the YMCA at 149 N. Potomac St. on Sept. 11, 1997, to go swimming.

At first Kari, who did not know how to swim, was playing in the smaller and shallower pool with other girls who did not know how to swim. That pool is between 2 and 3 1/2 feet deep.

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Other girls who knew how to swim were in the larger, deeper pool.

Then at about 4:45 p.m. the girls in the smaller pool were asked to leave because a swimming class needed to use it soon.

Some of those girls went to get dressed while others, including Kari, went to the larger pool with a chaperone to continue swimming.

The chaperones put flotation devices called "bubbles" on some of those girls.

However, "while the chaperons were placing flotation devices on the girls it appeared (Kari) entered the pool unnoticed," the report stated.

Jeff Goff, the on-duty lifeguard who pulled Kari from the pool, told police that at about 5 p.m. he ordered everyone out of the pool. As the girls started moving from the deep end to the shallow end of the pool Goff saw Kari lying on the bottom of the pool.

Kari was lying in water 7 to 8 feet deep.

Goff dove in and brought Kari to the surface, then with the help of another lifeguard, Kari was taken out of the pool and CPR was begun.

Goff told police that he did not know how long Kari may have been underwater.

Estimates from other witnesses said that Kari could have been underwater 2 to 3 minutes.

The report states that no one noticed any foul play or fighting in the pool.

After pulling Kari from the pool, another lifeguard went to call 911 from a telephone next to the pool.

Next to the telephone were instructions on what to do in case of an emergency.

Those directions began with instructing the person to dial 911.

Initial attempts to dial 911 were unsuccessful because at the time callers needed to first dial a 9 to get an outside line.

After several unsuccessful tries, the lifeguard called the front desk at the YMCA and told them what had happened and told them to call 911.

Kari was resuscitated but never regained consciousness. She died six days later when her parents authorized doctors at Johns Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore to remove her from life-support equipment.

YMCA and Girls Inc. officials and their lawyers did not return telephone calls seeking comment on Friday.

Goff died in a January car crash near his parents home in Kansas, his father said Friday.

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