-Detectives deem death accidental, find no criminal negligence
Danville police confirmed Thursday that no criminal charges will be filed in connection with death of San Ramon Valley High freshman Benjamin Curry, who drowned in the school’s pool nearly two months ago.
Detectives found no signs of foul play nor criminal negligence with regard to the 15-year-old’s death, determining the boy’s death was accidental, according to Lt. Doug Muse. After “extensive review” of the case, the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office will not be filing criminal charges, Muse said.
Detectives have determined that Curry drowned while participating in his fourth period physical education class, confirming findings from the county coroner’s office.
The coroner’s autopsy report, which was released publicly by the boy’s family nearly a month ago, concluded that the drowning — which occurred at the SRVHS pool — was an accident and not self-inflicted as some initial reports suggested.
“As class ended, students were seen swimming to the edge of the pool and leaving the pool area. Based on camera angles, it was unclear if the decedent left the pool with the other students or if he remained in the pool. Video surveillance captured no further activity in the pool area until approximately 1:40 p.m., when fifth-period swim class arrived at the pool area,” Danville police Officer Kyle Rhoton recounted in the coroner’s report.
Curry’s body was found by students at approximately 1:40 p.m. May 8, and they alerted school staff who after pulling Curry out of the water and attempted CPR, according to the coroner’s report. The boy was then transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Police have confirmed that Curry did know how to swim, but they were unsure of how to answer when asked about his skill level.
“The coroner’s report is only one part of the investigation,” said Danville Police Chief Allan Shields, who explained that the DA’s Office gave an extensive review before electing not to file any sort of charges.
Muse added that investigators reviewed video footage from the pool area as well as “numerous interviews with family, classmates and SRVHS staff.”
San Ramon Valley Unified School District officials have vowed to conduct their own internal review in order to determine if safer regulations can be put in place to prevent similar tragedies in the future.
“This has been a tragic loss for the student’s family and friends, as well as the entire community. From the beginning, we have asked our staff, students and parents to not engage in speculation or the spreading of rumors and to give Danville Police time to complete their investigation,” SRVUSD spokeswoman Elizabeth Graswich said Thursday.
“Now that the police investigation has been completed, we intend to commence our own internal review. We will be examining our policies and procedures in an ongoing effort to try to ensure the safety of our students,” Graswich added.