DEDHAM (CBS) – A clerk magistrate determined Wednesday that there is probable cause to charge retired State Trooper James Coughlin and his wife with reckless endangerment and serving alcohol to minors after a teenager drowned at their home last month.
Alonzo Polk, 17, died days after he was pulled from a pool during a graduation party at the Coughlins home on Netta Road on June 6. Polk had just graduated from Dedham High School hours earlier.
Police filed a criminal complaint against Coughlin and his wife Leslie because they hosted the party. The misdemeanor charges include giving alcohol to people under 21 and reckless endangerment of a child.
At a hearing in Dedham District Court Wednesday morning, police testified there was underage drinking at the party with beer cans scattered throughout the Coughlins’ yard. The couple’s attorney, Brian Kelly, said Polk was not known as a drinker and was seen drinking water. Kelly said the teen was thrown into the pool by a friend who didn’t know Polk couldn’t swim.
“When Mr. Coughlin heard the commotion outside, he ran to the pool and performed CPR in a desperate attempt to save Alonzo,” Kelly told the court. “What happened here was a terrible, terrible tragedy, a terrible accident. They are heartbroken that it happened but not every accident is a crime.”
The clerk magistrate determined there was enough evidence to go forward with charges against the Coughlins, but did not set an arraignment date for them yet.
The Norfolk District Attorney’s Office is also looking into Polk’s death.
The teen’s family attended the hearing Wednesday.
“We appreciate what happened here today. It’s one step that belongs to a long road and I just want to make sure in this long road that there’s justice for Alonzo,” Polk’s brother Roshawn Drane told reporters outside the courthouse.
A GoFundMe fundraiser has been set up for the Polk family. For more information, click here.