ST. CHARLES – On behalf of her son, the mother of a teenager who witnessed a drowning at Pheasant Run Resort five years ago is seeking damages in excess of $50,000, according to Kane County court documents filed this month.
The lawsuit asserts the Belvidere teen suffers from “extreme and severe emotional distress” because of the Dec. 28, 2007, drowning of 21-year-old Garden Prairie resident Javier Gonzalez.
The teen, then 12, had been throwing a foam football and playing splashing games with kids and Gonzalez when the 21-year-old sank face down to the bottom of the indoor-outdoor pool at the main drain, according to the lawsuit.
The teen reportedly screamed for help. While the other children rushed upstairs to get their parents, he stayed near the pool trying to find help for Gonzalez, according to the lawsuit.
He was “forced to watch decedent drown, unable to offer assistance due to the absence of appropriate rescue equipment,” according to the lawsuit, which lists his mother, Carmen Gant, as a plaintiff on behalf of her minor son.
The lawsuit further asserts the teen suffers from “persistent and severe inability to sleep and mood changes in that [his] cries for help to save decedent were unanswered and he feared for his own safety.”
According to the lawsuit, Pheasant Run Resort was in violation of the Pool and Beach Code. Oakbrook Hotels and McArdle Ltd. also are named as defendants.
“I doubt the accuracy of the complaint that has been filed,” said Patrick Fanning, attorney on behalf of Zurich North America, the resort’s insurer at the time of the incident.
Fanning said it would be inappropriate to comment further because the matter is in litigation.
The plaintiff’s attorney did not return a call seeking comment.
Gonzalez’s mother, Ilba Barraza, filed a lawsuit against Pheasant Run Resort in 2009, claiming a lack of life-saving equipment contributed to her son’s death. Court records indicate the case is unresolved.
• Shaw Suburban Media reporter Nicole Weskerna contributed to this report.