Evans vs. YMCA

On June 8, 2001, 11-year-old Bridgette Evans attended an end-of-the-year
picnic for the 5th grade of her elementary school at the local YMCA.
Approximately 100 students attended, along with 5 teachers and 5

The YMCA has an outdoor swimming pool that is L-shaped with an
attached diving well. The shallow end of the pool was roped off with a
lifeline that separated the diving well from the “shallow” end. The depth
of the “shallow” end ranges from 3.5′ to 5′. There are three (3) Lifeguard
stands at the outdoor pool, but only 2 were manned at the time of the

There were a total of 5 Lifeguards assigned for duty at the outdoor pool on
June 8, 2001, including the Head Lifeguard and 4 additional Lifeguards.

At the time of the incident Lifeguard stands #1 and #2 were manned by
Lifeguards. Two Lifeguards were on break, during which time they were not
assigned surveillance responsibilities. One of the Lifeguards on break was
in the Lifeguard shack, while the other Lifeguard on break was in her car in
the parking lot on her cell phone. The Head Lifeguard was on the deck
adjacent to Lifeguard stand #3 administering a swim test. Any student who
wanted to swim in the deep end (diving well) of the pool was required to
pass a swim test administered by the Head Lifeguard.

The students arrived at the YMCA at approximately 11:15 AM. They had a
picnic lunch prepared by the teachers and chaperones, which consisted of hot
dogs, hamburgers, salads, deserts, etc. After eating lunch, the students
were given general pool instructions as a group by the Head Lifeguard. The
students were told that they would not be permitted to use the diving board
or swim in the diving well of the pool unless they passed a swim test, which
consisted of swimming the length of the pool. Bridgette did not know how to
swim and, accordingly, did not take the test.

During the recreational swim, Bridgette was observed floating face-down and
motionless by a teacher, a student, and two Lifeguards. Bridgette was
removed from the pool by the Head Lifeguard, and was placed on the deck,
while the other students were removed from the swimming pool area.
Bridgette had vomited in the pool before removal, and vomited on the pool
deck after she was removed. The Head Lifeguard placed Bridgette on her
side, and assessed Bridgette to be breathing and had a pulse. Bridgette was
kept on her side and her breathing was monitored while waiting for EMS
response from the local Fire Company, as well as the Hospital Paramedics,
and the local EMS Ambulance Service.

Upon arrival of EMS units, Bridgette was assessed to be in respiratory
distress and was administered oxygen at 10 – 15 liters per minute via
non-rebreathing mask, and her respirations were assisted with a
Bag-Valve-Mask Resuscitator. Bridgette’s airway was suctioned using a bulb
syringe, and Bridgette was immobilized on a backboard and was transported to
the Hospital and then transferred to another hospital for advanced
definitive care.

Bridgette died on July 4, 2001, from complications of near-drowning.

Print Article