An autopsy report obtained by the Bay Area News Group indicates that a 15-year-old San Ramon Valley High School student slipped beneath the water during a swim class at his school and did not resurface, leading to his death by drowning at the school May 8.
Benjamin Curry was participating in his fourth period physical education swimming class from 11:40 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. that day when he slipped beneath beneath the water, his class leaving the pool without noticing he’d gone under, according to reports filed in conjunction with a review of the incident by forensic pathologist Dr. Arnold Josselson.
Surveillance cameras in the pool area captured Curry and other swimmers in the pool as class ended around 12:30 p.m. In surveillance video viewed by a school resource officer who later attempted to revive the unresponsive student, Curry can be seen going underwater but not resurfacing while other students are observed leaving the pool – something explained by the positioning of the pool’s camera system.
Given the camera angle, investigators said, it could not be determined if Curry had gone under and resurfaced in another area of the pool but no other activity is noted until a fifth period class arrives at 1:40 p.m.
About 10 minutes into the start of the fifth period class, according to a Danville Police school resource officer who watched the video of the incident, students spotted Curry in the water and alerted a P.E. teacher who leapt into the pool to retrieve the freshman with the help of other students.
That teacher alerted staff and initiated lifesaving measures. Danville Police school resource officer Kyle Rhoton told investigators he was alerted to an emergency in the pool area at 1:51 p.m., assisting with CPR until San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District firefighters arrived at the school.
Curry was rushed to Kaiser hospital in Walnut Creek, where he was declared dead.
A toxicology report submitted with the coroner’s findings revealed small amounts of antidepressants and marijuana in Curry’s system. Investigators said neither appeared to have played a role in the teen’s death.
Curry’s family, reportedly upset that rumors pertaining to their son’s death by suicide were allowed to circulate for weeks without refutation by his school, have obtained an attorney.
Within minutes of the accident, rumors circulated at the school that Curry may have taken his own life in response to bullying, a scenario investigators were not able to support with fact.