Family of 5-Year-Old Boy Who Drowned in Daycare Pool Sues Virginia YMCA for $20 Million

The attorneys representing the family of the child claimed that he was “ignored, unattended, forgotten, and neglected”



A YMCA in Virginia is facing a $20 million lawsuit after a 5-year-old boy allegedly drowned in the YMCA’s pool during day care.

Paramedics were called to the YMCA of Pulaski County for a possible drowning situation after Auston Wingo Jr., 5, was found unresponsive in the pool on Dec. 6, 2021, according to local Pulaski, Virginia, news stations WSET and WSLS. He was transported to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead a few hours later.

The boy’s family filed a complaint against the YMCA of Pulaski County which alleged that the facility only had one lifeguard on duty to watch over 38 children who had entered the pool all at once, and Wingo Jr. was not given a floatie or a swim test to see if he could enter the deeper side of the pool, according to The Kansas City Star.

The complaint alleged, per the outlet and WBDJ, that he “lost his grip on the side of the pool and began struggling” and “frantically fought for his life” before drowning in 8 feet of water.

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The complaint obtained by WBDJ also alleged that the three other daycare staffers watching the children in addition to the lifeguard “were not properly stationed on the pool deck” to be able to “supervise all the children in the pool.” Therefore neither they nor the lifeguard noticed that Wingo Jr. had drowned until two other children found him “floating facedown” toward the deep end of the pool.

The filing also alleged that when Wingo Jr. was taken to the hospital, it was found that one of his lungs was “completely full of water,” per WBDJ.

The attorneys representing Wingo Jr.’s family, Dirk Padgett and Steve Baker, did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

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However, the attorneys did release a statement obtained by WSLS saying that the 5-year-old boy was “ignored, unattended, forgotten, and neglected,” and that he drowned “in the deep end of the pool” due to the YMCA employees’ “gross negligence.”

“We know how important recreational centers such as the YMCA can be in communities and understand what the YMCA means to that community,” their statement said, per the outlet. “However, when the extremely dangerous conditions and circumstances that existed in December 2021 when Auston Wingo died, are allowed to persist, someone has to be held accountable.”

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“Society demands accountability for this little boy who will never experience a full life,” the attorneys added.

Pulaski County YMCA CEO Dave Adkins told McClatchy News in a statement, per The Kansas City Star, that “while we cannot comment on pending litigation, the Y takes all allegations of misdoing very seriously and are fully cooperating in all facets of the legal process.”

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