IRVING, Texas — A Texas mother is facing charges after three of her children drowned in a swimming pool and witnesses allege she was distracted by her cellphone while the tragedy occurred.
Irving police arrested Patricia Allen, 30, on suspicion of injury to a child. According to court documents, a witness said Allen was apparently distracted by a cellphone and not watching her three children in the pool.
Two other witnesses claim when they arrived at the pool, the three children were nowhere in sight and Allen was doing nothing.
“They walked up to the pool and saw the mother sitting on the edge of the pool, looking outward toward the deeper end area of the pool and also observed that the water was still and calm, and no flapping or splashing or bubbles in the water. It was at that point that the mother stepped out,” said Officer James McLellan, with the Irving Police Department.
According to KTVT, Allen took her five children to the pool for a day in the water.
Detectives originally said as Allen was preoccupied with the two younger children, the three older children went underwater. Tragically, 11-year-old Anthony Smith, 9-year-old Treshawn Smith and 10-year-old August Smith died after being pulled from the water.
“Patricia Allen is far from a criminal. She is a loving, caring and one of the sweetest people I’ve met for the first time. And she’s a grieving mother,” said Anthony Bond, a spokesperson for the family. “Everybody’s saying that she’s an irresponsible mother. Squash that! It’s not true.”
Police say the children and Allen couldn’t swim, but Allen’s husband says the children could swim well enough to be in the water. Child Protective Services took custody of the surviving children — a 6-year-old and a 3-year-old.
The Dallas Morning News reports the swimming pool where the drowning occurred has a history of problems. City records show the pool has been cited for poor visibility and gates that did not latch.