Latrobe teen pulled from reservoir by friends, dies later at hospital

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A Latrobe teen died yesterday after a swimming accident Sunday in the borough's reservoir in Ligonier Township, Westmoreland County.

Scott Trout, 15, and two other youths entered the basin that provides drinking water for Latrobe and some surrounding communities at about 2 p.m., Ligonier Township Police Chief Ronald Dorazio said.

"We make several arrests a year for trespassing, for swimming, boating. They think it's a public area. People even fish in there," Chief Dorazio said.

Scott and the two other teens had been using a 30-foot tower as a springboard, jumping into the 65-foot deep reservoir.

On Scott's turn, he struggled when he hit the water and then went under. His two companions managed to rescue him. They and two more teens who had been riding bicycles nearby performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation and used a cell phone to call for paramedics.

Scott was taken to Latrobe Area Hospital, then flown by helicopter to Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh, where he died at 12:57 a.m. yesterday, a spokesman for the Allegheny County medical examiner's office said.

The drowning death has been ruled accidental.

Chief Dorazio said Scott was not known as a strong swimmer.

The reservoir has no fencing or gates. Numerous signs are posted around the property prohibiting trespassing and all other public activities, but youths repeatedly tear the signs down, police said.

A 4-by-4-foot wooden sign near the entrance has been heavily damaged by people with guns using it for target practice, Chief Dorazio said.

On the day of the drowning, two other youths were cited for trespassing because they were caught riding all-terrain vehicles on the site, police said.

The two boys who were swimming with Scott will be cited for trespassing, police said.

The last drowning at the reservoir was about 15 years ago, Chief Dorazio said.

Chris Fennell, Scott's stepfather, said Scott did not tell his family where he was going to swim Sunday when he left with his friends. They assumed he was going to swim at a friend's house, he said.

Mr. Fennell said Scott was athletic and would often work out with friends at a local gymnasium. He said Scott played basketball and had just finished his freshman year at Greater Latrobe High School. He was considering going into engineering.

He said Scott liked to swim in the family's above-ground pool in their back yard, but he was not accustomed to swimming long distances.

Mr. Fennell said it was about an 80-yard swim out to the tower the boys were using as a springboard. The boys were swimming with their shoes on because of rocks on the reservoir floor, he said.

He said someone had tied two large ropes to the tower to use for swinging into the water.

He said he was surprised to learn that there was only one tattered no-trespassing sign on the property and that police did not patrol the area regularly.

"Why is there not a big fence out there that kids can't get over?" he asked. "That's dangerous."

Visitation will be at Lopatich Funeral Home, 601 Weldon St., Latrobe, from 3 to 5 and 7 to 9 p.m. tomorrow. The funeral service will be Thursday at 10 a.m. at Bethany United Methodist Church, 2415 Laveen St., Latrobe. Interment will follow in Unity Cemetery.

Scott Trout

Jim McKinnon can be reached at jmckinnon@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1939. Moustafa Ayad can be reached at mayad@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1731.


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