Fatal Accident Summaries|
Article published June 9. 2005
Norwalk man pulled from pond dies
By Lisa Chamoff
WILTON -- The man pulled from a quarry pond off Danbury Road in Wilton on Tuesday night was pronounced dead at Norwalk Hospital about an hour and a half later.
Wilton police said 22-year-old Ryan Spaeth of Norwalk was swimming with three friends in the large pond, which is up to 30 feet deep, and couldn't get back to shore. Police said he may have overexerted himself.
One of Spaeth's female friends unsuccessfully tried to swim to him, Wilton Police Capt. Michael Lombardo said.
Wilton firefighters and police officers got to the pond, in a wooded area behind Storage Deluxe at 111 Danbury Road, at about 8:19 p.m.
About 10 divers from Wilton and Westport began searching just after 9 p.m. and retrieved Spaeth about 9:25 p.m. He was rushed to Norwalk Hospital, where he was pronounced dead about 11 p.m.
The pond, owned by the state Department of Transportation, is off limits to swimmers, but trespassing is a large problem, town officials said.
In June 2002, 19-year-old Paul Archer of Norwalk drowned while swimming in the gravel pit. Police said at the time it seemed the Brien McMahon High School graduate became entangled in thick vegetation about 20 feet from shore.
Lombardo said the 700- by 300-foot pond is secluded, and there are many places behind the other businesses that line Danbury Road at which people can enter the property.
"So the officers patrol the area and they do what they can," Lombardo said. "When the weather gets warm like this, people do go there, and unfortunately tragedies like this do happen."
Wilton First Selectman Paul Hannah said he told the DOT about the death yesterday. DOT and Wilton public safety officials might decide to post more signs or expand patrols to limit trespassing, Hannah said.
"The town is limited of course (in) what it can do on state property," he said. "We're going to work with them."