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Judge rejects Lexington drowning case after jury hangs

Rockbridge County Circuit Judge Michael Irvine has granted a defense motion to strike a wrongful death lawsuit after a jury deadlocked over liability for a teen’s 2006 drowning at a Lexington city park.

Charles Volpe, 16, drowned while swimming at a city park when he became trapped underwater below a low head dam on the Maury River.  His family’s lawsuit against the city of Lexington raised questions of sovereign immunity and gross negligence.

Judge Irvine allowed to the case to go to trial, but granted a motion to strike July 10 after the jury failed to reach a verdict after five days of testimony.  Defense counsel John Zunka of Charlottesville said a final order has not yet been entered.

The Roanoke Times reports Volpe’s father has lobbied for measures to prevent similar accidents.

By Peter Vieth

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