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Boy, 2, drowns
in apartment pool

His brother, 4, remains hospitalized. Authorities say the boys had been seen jumping into the pool.

photo
[Times photo: Douglas R. Clifford]
Pool at the Bayshore Palms Apartments and Homes in Safety Harbor.
By DEBORAH O'NEIL

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 18, 2000


SAFETY HARBOR -- A 2-year-old boy drowned, and his 4-year-old brother remained in serious condition Monday night after the two were found in the swimming pool of their apartment complex. David A. Lewis II, who would have turned 3 on April 27, died at Mease Countryside Hospital after being pulled from the pool by a Bayshore Palms apartment complex employee, said Pinellas County Sheriff's spokesman Cal Dennie. His brother, Peter Voskian Jr., 4, was flown to St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa, where he remained in serious condition.

The two boys were outside the pink apartment complex at 2035 Phillippe Parkway with their grandfather, David Blue, while he worked on a car. Blue, who lives in Clearwater, sent the children to the second-floor apartment where they live with their mother, Davida Voskian, 19.

The children apparently stopped at the pool along the way. The rectangular, in-ground pool is tucked behind the buildings and is not visible from the parking lot. One of the boys was at the bottom of the pool and the other was found floating on the surface when they were seen, Dennie said.

"They were seen jumping in and out of the water before the incident occurred," Dennie said. "The gate was unsecure."

The pool is surrounded by a 4-foot chain-link fence and has a latch, but Monday there was no lock on it. The pool drops from 3 feet to 8 feet at its deep end.

Residents of the complex were grim Monday.

"This is horrible," said Sebastian Dauda, 17, who saw paramedics working on the boys. "They had shoes on, socks."

Vikki Pallonetti and Mark Yonke stood outside with their two grandchildren, Phoenix, 2, and Liam, 15 months. As they spoke with a reporter, Phoenix ran to the pool. The latch was secured shut with police tape.

"Case in point," Yonke said. "They're fast."

"Any time you've got a pool with little kids, you've got to be paranoid," Pallonetti said. "It's so sad."

Ten days ago in Hillsborough County, a 2-year-old boy fell into his family's swimming pool and later died. George Domino of 1007 Hull Ave. in Seffner fell into the pool while his mother was on the telephone, authorities said. His father found the boy when he got home from work.

In Sebring, days earlier, a 3-year-old boy was found dead in the lake where his family last saw him swimming. Benito Caesar Perez, who was vacationing with his family in Sebring, was presumed to have drowned, investigators said.

And in February, a 13-month-old girl drowned in a retention pond behind her Tampa home.

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