Valley News -

Family of Murrieta boy who drowned in school pool to announce settlement

13-year-old Alex Pierce was dragged out of the Vista Murrieta High School pool by classmates


Last updated 8/14/2018 at 3:31pm

Courtesy of Sabrina Pierce

13-year-old Alex Pierce was dragged out of the Vista Murrieta High School pool by classmates during a party.

MURRIETA - The family of a 13-year-old drowning victim who was pulled to the surface of a Murrieta high school pool by his classmates, with little to no help from lifeguards, will announce tomorrow an $11 million settlement with the Murrieta Valley Unified School District, according to their attorneys.

The suit against the district was filed in September 2016, roughly three months after Alex Pierce was left brain dead. He was taken off life support a month later.

According to attorneys retained by the teen's parents, Sabrina and Rodriguez Pierce, an out-of-court settlement was reached last month.

In addition to the $11 million payout, the school district has agreed to revise its School Safety Plan and implement new procedures to prevent a similar tragedy from re-occurring, the plaintiffs said.

They expressed hope that the safety plan would serve as a model for school districts throughout the state.

The settlement will be detailed during a news briefing outside the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta, where the civil suit has been pending before Riverside County Superior Court Judge Angel Bermudez, who is expected to formally dismiss it on Sept. 6.

According to the plaintiffs, Alex was taking part in a June 3, 2016, party at Vista Murrieta High School when he slipped beneath the water unnoticed while swimming in the deep end of the competition pool. According to the family's attorneys, the victim remained submerged almost two minutes before several of his seventh-grade classmates spotted him, dove under and retrieved him, bringing him unconscious to the surface.

Courtesy of Sabrina Pierce

Alex Pierce is shown here in a photo with Sabrina Pierce in a photo provided by the family. The Pierce family is expected to announce a settlement with the Murrieta Valley Unified School District pertaining to Alex's drowning death in 2016.

Two teenage student lifeguards then placed the boy on a backboard, and for the next seven minutes, floated him around the pool, unable to decide what to do next, according to the plaintiffs.

They alleged that the chief swim and dive coach for Vista Murrieta High School, Keith Good, was responsible for supervising the nine amateur lifeguards on duty. They allege he stood by and did not make any effort to initiate CPR.

When paramedics arrived, they lifted Alex onto the pool deck and attempted life-saving treatment to revive the boy, who by that time was clinically brain dead, according to his family's attorneys.

Good later said in a deposition that he thought the student lifeguards had a handle on the situation, and he did not want to "second guess'' their decision-making, according to the plaintiffs.

Alex was hospitalized in San Diego, where he remained unresponsive and comatose until his family decided to take him off of life support on July 7, 2016.


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