The parents of a Balch Springs girl have filed a civil lawsuit against the city asking for $1 million in damages for the death of their daughter.
Tamia Johnson, 10, drowned last month in a retention pond at Luedeke Park in the Dallas County community of Balch Springs.
The new park was only recently opened when the girl drowned.
Antoin Lockett, Johnson’s stepfather, said he took his daughter and some friends to play at the park that featured a splash pad and walking trail attractions.
Johnson and friends walked the trail reading signs that read “follow me,” right to the edge of the pond, which is not visible from the common play areas of the park or the splash pad, according to the lawsuit.
Lockett said he didn’t even know a pond existed. There were no signs that indicated its existence and no warning signs about not swimming in the pond.
"When I come to your facility with my kids, give me warning of the danger,” said Lockett during a news conference held at his attorney’s office. "Then I can be the parent of the situation, but you didn’t give me warning.”
The lawsuit alleged gross negligence on the part of Balch Springs, which had ordered warning signs prior to the parks opening but hadn’t put them up yet.
A city spokesperson said that Balch Springs was caught off guard by some spring rains that increased the ponds depths to above 15 feet in some areas.
Johnson’s mother, Ebony McGee, said her other two children are struggling with their grief, not understanding why they’re sister is no longer with them.
"You’re used to having three babies. [You] never think just because you allow them to go release a little energy at the water park that this would happen,” said McGee.
McGee rides by the park daily, looking for signs of improved safety but said there’s nothing and that she and Lockett keep coming back to the same conclusion.
"That park shouldn't have been open, it wasn't ready,” said Lockett and McGee. “Whatever reason that park was open is the reason my daughter passed,” said Lockett.
As of this writing, Balch Springs had not responded to NBC 5's requests for comment regarding the lawsuit.