Chicago Woman Sues Park District Over Son's Lake Drowning

CHICAGO (AP) — The mother of a Chicago teenager who drowned in Lake Michigan last month is suing the Chicago Park District, alleging that his death could have been prevented if flotation devices had been available along the city's lakefront.

Maria Diaz's wrongful death lawsuit alleges that bystanders searched to no avail for flotation devices to help her 19-year-old son, Miguel Cisneros, as he was drowning Aug. 22 off a pier at Toby Prinz Beach Park.

She also alleges in the suit filed this week that prior to her son's death, the park district had agreed to place 140 water rescue stations along Chicago’s lakefront, including a station at or near the beach or pier at Tobey Prinz Beach Park.

Park District spokesperson Michele Lemons said the agency would not comment on active litigation.

Cisneros drowned off Pratt Pier in Chicago's Rogers Park neighborhood after jumping off the pier for a swim. Last week, the city park district placed two sanctioned life rings at Prinz Beach Park, including one at Pratt Pier.

But Diaz said one life ring at Pratt Pier isn’t enough and she wants life rings installed along the city’s entire waterfront.

“This is not only about Miguel,” she said. “It’s about preventing other families from going through this tragedy.”

Cisneros, who lived in Brighton Park, was a graduate of St. Ignatius College Prep and he was set to start his sophomore year at Columbia University this fall.