Grandmother sues, claims grandson drowned in unsafe Baker pool

The grandmother of a 9-year-old boy who drowned last summer in a swimming pool at a Baker mobile home park is suing for damages, alleging the park was negligent in failing to provide a safe environment for residents and invitees.

But the longtime manager of Azalea Gardens said Tuesday the boy, LaDarius Kendrell Bradford, of Baker, was neither a resident nor an invited guest of the park.

“She left the child unattended,” Millie Lester said of Elaine Bradford, who was the boy’s grandmother and legal guardian. “It wasn’t the first time.”

Elaine Bradford’s attorney, Kris Perret, said Tuesday that Bradford and her grandson had gone to the trailer park that day to visit friends. Perret acknowledged Bradford was not at the pool at the time of her grandson’s accident.

The swimming pool, which is not tended by a lifeguard, is intended for the use of people who live in the mobile home park off Baker Boulevard.

Baker Police Chief Mike Knaps said previously his detectives learned the boy was at the trailer park with his grandmother, who brought him along with her while she visited with a friend.

Detectives also learned from the grandmother that the child did not know how to swim, Knaps has said.

Elaine Bradford’s lawsuit, filed Friday, says her grandson “wandered into the unsecured area surrounding the pool” on June 27, 2013. The suit alleges the boy “fell into the openly accessible and unmonitored pool and drowned to death.”

The wrongful death suit also claims the pool “was not secured by a locked gate, nor by any type of security system, nor monitored by any type of surveillance system.”

Elaine Bradford’s suit also contends Azalea Gardens failed to provide the following: a lifeguard or attendant at the pool; a secure enclosure around the pool; and a controlled means of access to the pool.

The suit also alleges the park failed to conduct regular inspections of the pool and failed to limit the access of minor children to the pool.

“It’s a tragedy. Nothing’s going to bring the child back,” added Perret, who said the suit will have accomplished something if changes are made at the trailer park.

In July 2004, a 14-year-old boy reportedly visiting an uncle in the trailer park also drowned in the pool.

Bradford’s suit has been assigned to state District Judge William Morvant.