Family of drowning victims sues Texas City

July 7, 2011 8:40:05 PM PDT
With summer in full effect, the Texas City Dike is a popular place to get some sun and cool down. But one day after the drowning of a five-year-old boy there, Texas City is being sued. The lawsuit claims the city knows the beach is dangerous, and even deadly, but is doing nothing about it.

The Suarez family filed the lawsuit on Thursday. The city says it added a sign to the entrance of the Texas City Dike, but it came after the family's tragedy. Now the family's attorney says a sign isn't enough.

"Words can't describe what they've been going through," said Jimmy Doan, the family's attorney.

It was an unbearable loss for the Suarez family last fall when they arrived at the Texas City Dike for a family outing. Nine-year-old twins Alexandra and Samantha went into the water and immediately got into trouble. Their father Hector drowned while trying to save them.

The family says there were no signs or warning of the dangers.

"The city's contention is well the parents should have watched, they should have had life jackets. Every parent wants to protect their child, but sometimes the dangers are not obvious," Doan said. "And in Texas City, when people go to the Texas City Dike, they're not aware of how dangerous this beach is."

The dike had just reopened following two years of Hurricane Ike repairs.

The city says signs had not been posted but were added to the entrance of the dike after the Suarez drownings.

"I don't think that it's something that means that no one else could ever use the ocean because there's been a tragedy. I'm very sorry for the family, but I really don't think there's any responsibility for the city because it's an inherently dangerous and case law says that oceans are inherently dangerous,"Texas City Attorney Carla Cotropia said.

Damage from the hurricane can still be seen at the dike. Attorneys for the Suarez family say they believe conditions there changed once it reopened but the city disputes their claim.


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