A Tarrant County grand jury found a former Southlake swim coach guilty of negligence in the drowning death of a student.
Tracey Boyd was an assistant swim coach at the Carroll ISD Aquatic Center the morning that 13-year-old Elise Cerami drowned during practice in June 2016.
Boyd was sentenced to three years' probation. Elise’s family says they never wanted jail time for her but wanted her held accountable.
Prosecutors said Boyd was out of position to watch Elise and other swimmers she was responsible for supervising that day.
Defense attorneys presented testimony from a teammate who was swimming one lane over when she saw Elise at the bottom of the pool. She told the jury she looked up and called for the coaches and saw moments later the head coach and other swimmers trying to help her.
On Thursday, two swim coaches testified that a glare on the water can prevent someone from seeing the bottom of the pool.
Prosecutors also played motion-activated surveillance video that shows Boyd did not appear on video until about nine minutes after Elise was spotted underwater.
Lori Cerami, Elise’s mother, says the nine minutes could have saved her daughter.
“I miss her every day,” Lori said. “She was so passionate about life. She really loved people. Every person that she met was like this untold story that she wanted to read about. She was such an optimistic and motivational person, and you were just drawn to her. And I miss that about her every day.”
Lori says she hopes the jury’s verdict will send a message for change and increased safety in aquatic sports.
Both the defense and the state agreed on the sentencing that Boyd would only get probation after her conviction.