Teen Died After Breath-Holding Attempt

Dillon McNeel Carter, 18, was trying to see how long he could hold his breath when he began to drown in a friend’s backyard pool in University Park.

The recent Highland Park High School graduate died July 19, nearly a week after being pulled from the pool in the 2700 block of Hanover Street and rushed to the hospital.

Dillon McNeel Carter

Carter, his twin brother, Paul, and at least five other teens, none older than 18, were hanging out at the pool on the afternoon of July 13, according to University Park Police Department records.

Park Cities People obtained the records – an incident report, dispatch event report, officer’s case supplemental reports, and witness affidavits – on Thursday, a day after funeral services at Highland Park United Methodist Church and Hillcrest Memorial Park.

Some of the teens were drinking beer; some descended to the bottom of the pool to test how long they could hold their breath, the records show.

Crime Prevention Officer Lita Snellgrove said the beer was in an outdoor keg refrigerator on the back porch. One of the teens lives at the house. Police don’t know where his parents were at the time, Snellgrove said.

Witness accounts indicate Dillon Carter had been at the friend’s home for more than two hours and had a couple of glasses before diving into the pool.

After several moments – one witness estimated about a minute – the teens decided Dillon Carter had been underwater too long, and one of the girls, a certified lifeguard, dived in and pulled him out.

Some of them began chest compressions. Another called 911.

University Park Police Department officers were the first to arrive after dispatchers received the 3:21 p.m. call about a “possible drowning,” said Steve Mace, the city’s director of communications and marketing.

The officers administered CPR until relieved by Dallas Fire Rescue paramedics responding as part of a mutual aid agreement. A University Park Fire Department engine crew that had been on another call arrived shortly after.

“Following initial treatment, the teen was still unresponsive,” Mace said. Dillon Carter was transported to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, where he underwent days of treatment and tests.

No criminal citations were issued.

“At the time, our officers were there doing CPR,” Snellgrove said. “Our focus was on getting Mr. Carter to the hospital and getting help for him.

“This was a very tragic event, and I’m sure this is something these young people are going to live with for a very long time.”

Based on an external exam, the medical examiner ruled the cause of death “as complications from near drowning,” Snellgrove said. “It’s not an active investigation since it was ruled an accident.”

William Taylor

William Taylor, editor of Park Cities People and Preston Hollow People, shares a name and a birthday with his dad and a love for community journalism with his colleagues at People Newspapers. He joined the staff in 2016 after more than 25 years working for daily newspapers in such places as Alexandria, Louisiana; Baton Rouge; McKinney; San Angelo; and Sherman, though not in anywhere near that order. A city manager once told him that “city government is the best government” because of its potential to improve the lives of its residents. William still enjoys covering municipal government and many other topics. Follow him on Twitter @Seminarydropout. He apologizes in advance to the Joneses for any angry Tweets that might slip out about the Dallas Cowboys during the NFL season. You also can reach him at [email protected]. For the latest news, click here to sign up for our newsletter.

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