(7/19/2018) An award for a noble act has caused controversy.
Five lifeguards at the Chemin-A-Haut State Park pool in Bastrop were honored on July 12, 2018 for saving a little boy from drowning.
“The Lieutenant Governor and I felt like we needed to recognize the lifeguards,” Assistant Secretary of Louisiana State Parks, Gene Reynolds, said. “The lifeguards played a big role in this young man’s survival”
Four-year-old Jakobe Herron survived, so why are people upset?
Just a couple days after the lifeguards received these awards family and friends of the little boy who were here at the scene say they remember that day a lot differently.
They claim the lifeguards did not come to Jakobe’s aid fast enough when the incident occurred.
However, park officials say, in their incident report, that the family was at fault after leaving 4-year-old Jakobe Herron without supervision and keeping the lifeguards from effectively doing their job.
According to Reynolds, the report says members of the family were arguing with one of the lifeguards about the pool’s closing time because they showed up late.
“The 4-year-old who couldn’t swim was left unattended on the steps in the four-foot area,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds pointed out that the park’s pool rules state that no child under the age of 12 should be left without supervision at the pool.
While this was going on they say Jakobe fell off the pool steps, into the water and started drowning.
One young man nearby noticed.
“He was turning blue like he was gone,” Roderrio Jimmerson
“I grabbed him and put him on side of the concrete.”
The family says the the lifeguards on the scene were in shock and asking for help.
“What’s going through my mind is why do you need help?” Jakobe’s cousin, Daisha Haynes, said.
“You should know what to do.”
Witnesses say his mother immediately stepped in.
“She did CPR on her own child,” Ladonna Pits said.
Jakobe’s mother, Megan Fudge, says after two tries he came back to life.
Soon after park officials called the ambulance.
“I just think we wall ought to step back and say thank God this kid’s alive and he’s well,” Reynolds said.
Although all parties are happy Jakobe survived, the family believes the wrong people got the credit for saving him.
“The mom deserves the award not the lifeguards,” Aubrianna Haynes said.
“They should get the award from them and give it to the real people that saved the baby’s life,” Daisha Haynes said.
Meanwhile, Fudge has sought legal counsel and has decided to sue Chemin-A-Haut Park for the way the incident was handled.
Her lawyer with the Ross Down’s law firm say they plan on having some tests run on Jakobe to see if he suffered any short term or long term damage from nearly drowning.
Who’s at fault for what almost became a tragedy?
Will it be the family for leaving Jakobe unattended or will the park get the blame for the lifeguards not being able to respond to a timely emergency.
The answers will likely be found out in court.
Fudge plans to sue Chemin-A-Haut for improper monitoring, supervision, response and failure to administer appropriate aid.
KTVE/KARD will be following this case as it develops.