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Article updated: 3/21/2013 12:19 PM

Second lawsuit in 2007 pool drowning at St. Charles resort

By Harry Hitzeman

A Belvidere teen, who saw a relative drown at the Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles more than five years ago, has sued the resort and hotel, claiming emotional distress.

The suit, filed this month in Kane County court, is the second involving the Dec. 28, 2007, drowning of Javier Gonzalez, 21, of Garden Prairie, Ill.

A wrongful-death suit was filed in 2009 by the mother of the drowning victim. Daniel Murphy, a lawyer representing the plaintiffs in both lawsuits, declined to comment.

The suit alleges Pheasant Run Resort and Spa, McArdle Ltd., and Oakbrook Hotels and Resorts should be held liable for the emotional distress caused to Carlos Escobar, who was 12 when he saw his stepbrother drown.

Both lawsuits argue the resort failed to maintain the pool properly by not posting emergency numbers or installing a phone at the pool.

The suit also claims the resort was cited by the DuPage County Health Department at least seven times for not having a buoyed safety rope dividing the shallow and deep sections of the pool, and did not have proper lifesaving equipment on the deck.

According to the suit, Gonzalez was playing in the pool with four relatives, ages 12 through 15, when he became distressed and sank face down to the bottom near the drain. There was no lifeguard on duty and the children frantically called for help before going to their parents' rooms for assistance, the suit states.

A Pheasant Run employee could not locate any rescue equipment, and Gonzalez was underwater for at least five minutes, the suit said. He was eventually pulled from the water, but CPR did not work and he was pronounced dead on arrival at Delnor Hospital in Geneva.

Gonzalez was an "athlete and strong swimmer," and no drugs or alcohol were found in his body after the autopsy, the suit stated.

Phone messages left with Pheasant Run, McArdle Ltd., and Oakbrook Hotels and Resorts were not returned.

Both lawsuits seek more than $50,000 in damages.

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