Family of kayaker Lisa Zitello who nearly drowned sues Warren for negligence
WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) — The family of a woman who nearly drowned while kayaking in Warren wants the city held accountable for what they say was a preventable tragedy. The family and attorneys announced the lawsuit against the city and their willingness to defend the woman they love.
Lawyers representing Lisa Zitello’s family describe her as an experienced and responsible kayaker who would never have taken her kayak over that dam near the Summit Street Bridge if there had been proper warning signs. Now they’re suing the city for negligence.
“My mum is the best mum you could ask for,” Zitello’s son Dominic said.
Standing on the steps outside the Trumbull County Courthouse, Zitello’s family spoke of the kind, caring and artistic woman they love and the pain and suffering she has endured since her death. near drowning.
“It’s been a very long time, and I miss her so much. I just remember the last few moments before she walked through the door, I said, ‘I love you mum, be safe,'” Dominic said.
It was on May 3, 2020 that Zitello went kayaking on the Mahoning River and got stuck in the current of the old Water Works Dam. Lawyers representing Zitello’s family say buoys warning of the danger of the dam were installed in 2017 but washed away and not replaced before Zitello’s kayak trip.
“This tragedy should never have happened. It wouldn’t have happened if the City of Warren had installed adequate warnings for unsuspecting boaters,” attorney Joe Schiavoni said.
To this day, Zitello remains in a coma in a long-term care facility.
“The woman who gave me life does not have the opportunity to experience hers. She deserves so much more than that,” said Zitello’s other son, Charles “Mateo” Martin.
“Our goal is to bring Lisa home, to spend the rest of her life surrounded by her family, her dog, her friends, her boys and all her loved ones,” Zitello’s husband Brent said.
“The City of Warren needs to take responsibility for the disaster it has caused. It needs to be held accountable and do better to protect the community while the dam remains in the river. This is a matter of life and death” , said attorney Ashlie Case Sletvold.