SOUTHLAKE, Texas - A former high school swim coach accused in the drowning death of a student went on trial Tuesday.
Tracey Anne Boyd, a former coach for the Carroll Independent School District in Southlake, faces charges for abandoning and endangering a child by criminal negligence.
One of her swimmers, 13-year-old Elise Cerami, was found at the bottom of a pool during a swim practice in June 2016 at the Carroll ISD Aquatics Center.
The prosecution is using surveillance video from the pool on the day of the incident to try and prove that the defendant was not paying attention when the teen drowned.
The defense maintains that this was an unfortunate accident and therefore the coach should not be held criminally liable.
Escorted out of the courtroom by some of her supporters, Boyd had nothing to say to reporters on the first day of her criminal trial.
The indictment says Boyd failed "to watch… Elise while (she) was in a swimming pool" or failed "to ensure that Elise was watched… by another responsible individual.”
Attorney Bree West is not affiliated with the case.
“It’s telling me that she had some duty to this child to keep the child safe,” West said. “And in doing in that duty, she did not do anything to make sure this child was put in danger in any way.”
Surveillance video played in court, but not accessible to the media, is a big part of the prosecution’s case. The motion-activated camera shows Coach Boyd walking past Elise near the edge of the pool inside the aquatic center. Boyd does not appear again until roughly nine minutes later when Elise is spotted in the water by other swimmers who call out for help.
The defense maintains Boyd was in the pool area the entire time watching the swimmers. It just wasn’t caught on that motion-activated surveillance video.
“That defense is that this child was likely at a practice or an organized athletic event. She was doing what she was supposed to be doing, the child was, and this unfortunate accident happened,” West said. “That is an actual defense to this type of charge.”
One of Elise's relatives got emotional when the surveillance video was played. Jurors also heard testimony from a paramedic who said Elise was unresponsive by the time they arrived on scene two minutes after being dispatched. Elise did not respond to any life-saving measures.
If convicted of child endangerment, Boyd faces up to ten years in prison.