The parents of a Long Island high school student who died five days after suffering cardiac arrest at a 2012 cross country competition at Elma Meadows have filed a wrongful-death lawsuit, accusing Erie County, the Jamison Road Volunteer Fire Company and others of negligence.
The lawsuit by Stephen and Laurie Guyer was filed last week in State Supreme Court in Buffalo. They called the defendants negligent for not making sure appropriate medical personnel, an ambulance and a defibrillator were at the county-owned golf course on Nov. 9, 2012, the day of the competition.
The defendants’ negligence led to the death of their 14-year-old son, Ronan Guyer, on Nov. 14, 2012, at Women & Children’s Hospital in Buffalo, according to the lawsuit.
As a result of the defendants’ negligence, Ronan suffered severe personal injuries and experienced conscious pain and suffering, including psychological and emotional fear of his death, his parents said in the lawsuit.
Ronan, a freshman at Southold Junior/Senior High School in Suffolk County, was a member of the school’s varsity cross country team. The team traveled to Elma Meadows for the New York State Cross Country Championships, conducted by the New York State Public High School Athletic Association and its regional affiliate, Section VI, based in West Seneca, according to the lawsuit.
During a practice run, Ronan slipped in the mud and fell hard on his chest, causing cardiac arrest, his family said.
Emergency medical technicians treated Ronan, and they were able to restore a pulse and then transport him to Women & Children’s Hospital, the lawsuit said.
The court papers did not specify which ambulance service treated and transported the student. A lawyer for the family could not provide that information Tuesday.
The Jamison Road Volunteer Fire Company, based in Elma, declined to comment.
The fire company was contacted on the day of the competition to provide an ambulance as runners warmed up and also during the races, according to the lawsuit.
The fire company did not send an ambulance to the championships, failed to disclose that it would not attend and failed to contact another fire company to provide an ambulance, according to the lawsuit.
“Therefore, Jamison’s negligence caused the championships to proceed without an ambulance on site, which would have prevented Ronan’s death,” the suit said.
The lawsuit listed the fire company, the county, the state high school athletic association and the Southold Union Free School District as defendants, saying they were negligent in failing to take adequate safety measures that would have prevented Ronan’s death.
The lawsuit seeks damages in an amount to be determined by the court.
A person at the Jamison Road Volunteer Fire Company said the members have been told not to comment on the lawsuit.
While the cross country competition was held at Elma Meadows, the event was conducted by the state high school athletic association, said County Attorney Michael A. Siragusa.
“Prior to the event, Erie County required that the (association) procure insurance naming Erie County as an additional insured, which they did,” he said. “Accordingly, Erie County is being provided with contractual defense and indemnification in this case under the insurance policy.”
The other defendants declined to comment.
At the time of Ronan’s death, his uncle, Ed Plaia, told the Long Island newspaper Newsday that the boy didn’t have a history of heart problems. He described Ronan, an honor student, as an avid snowboarder, skier and sailor.
School officials said Ronan was active in the Boy Scouts and Southold Yacht Club, and was on the Mattituck and Southold sailing teams. He was also a member of the Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps.