High School Coach Charged In Player's Death

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - A Kentucky high school football coach was
charged Thursday with reckless homicide in the death of one of his
players who collapsed at practice on a hot day.

A grand jury indicted David Jason Stinson in the death of Pleasure Ridge Park offensive lineman Max Gilpin. Stinson was directing practice on Aug. 20, when the heat index reached 94 degrees in Louisville where the school is located. The 15-year-old Gilpin collapsed and had trouble breathing.

When the sophomore reached Kosair Children's Hospital, he had a temperature of 107 degrees and died there three days later.

The reckless homicide charge means grand jurors didn't find that Stinson's actions were intentional or malicious, said Jefferson County Commonwealth's Attorney Dave Stengel. However, Stengel said, "a reasonable man should have realized something like this could have occurred."

Stinson's attorney, Alex Dathorne, told The Associated Press that the coach maintains his innocence and looks forward to "bringing out the whole story."

"We're certainly disappointed in the grand jury's decision to indict," Dathorne said.

Stengel said Stinson, who coached the whole 2008 season, will surrender Monday at his arraignment and likely will remain free pending trial.

Stengel said he reviewed the actions of five assistant coaches who were on the field that day and determined they committed no criminal act.

Lauren Roberts, a spokeswoman for the Jefferson County Public Schools, said she's aware of the indictment, but the school system had not been formally notified about the charge.

"We'll be making a determination about his status with the district," Roberts said.

Elden May, a Kentucky High School Athletic Association spokesman, declined comment.

Stinson asked to testify in front of the grand jurors but they declined to hear him, Stengel said. The grand jury heard only from a Louisville Metro Police detective.

Gilpin's parents, Glenna Michele Crockett and Jeffrey Dean Gilpin, sued Stinson and the five assistant coaches in state court accusing them of negligence and "reckless disregard."

Along with the lawsuit and criminal investigation, the school system has been conducting its own investigation, which was still pending Thursday.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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  • by Diane Location: Mt.Sterling on Jan 26, 2009 at 01:47 PM
    Why does all the blame go on just the coach? Do you think he is the only coach who had practice during the hot weather. Most players go through a rigorous physical examination before being allowed to play. Also, anyone who feels sick is allowed to leave the field. Or sit practice out all together. Can even a doctor who looks at a bunch of sweaty, dirty hardworking football players be able to tell who is too sick to keep practicing. This kid had access to his parents,his team mates, his coaches, and school personnel. Why is only the coach responsible?
  • by mel Location: lex on Jan 26, 2009 at 12:25 PM
    Well, Bill, I opined too quickly and didn't read your post. Why, please tell me why, do you not think killing someone with a car is homicide? If you don't think that's a crime, then you find a member of your family flipped over the front of a pickup and left in the road to die by a drunk driver and tell me what you think it is if not a crime. I'm not even going to touch the rest of your ignorant statements, but I would truly like to know why you think making a decision to get in a vehicle drunk and smashing into a pedestrian isn't a crime.
  • by mel Location: lex on Jan 26, 2009 at 12:04 PM
    In Tx and Az the humidity is lower and the people who live there have acclimated to the temps they are active in daily. We don't get that much 90 plus weather. And when we do, it is absolutely up to the director of ANY extracurricular activity overseen by a school system to know and heed the temp index guidelines. If indeed he was not allowing water breaks, then yes he should be charged and yes he contributed to the player's death. I've watched some of these coaches in action, and they pride themselves on being "tough" but they're not the ones doing the strenuous activity, simply screaming at young boys. No excuse for a child dying from heat in a sport practice. None. And BTW, "All these kids are on steriods and other supplements these days" is a ridiculously broad and inaccurate statement.
  • by me Location: hazard on Jan 26, 2009 at 09:50 AM
    To Bill a drunk driver should be charged with a crime. Are you a drunk driver is why you entered this stupid comment.
  • by Leah on Jan 26, 2009 at 09:06 AM
    I don't think that it's his fault people should stop blaming people.
  • by Runner Location: Rockcastle on Jan 26, 2009 at 07:55 AM
    We expect the coaches to follow the rules and keep our children safe. We have had a coach that refused our students after running in the heat around the same time that this situation happened. We need to hold them accountable.
  • by Jon Location: Ky on Jan 26, 2009 at 07:39 AM
    I hope they drive this coach up.
  • by FLASH GORDON Location: HAZARD on Jan 26, 2009 at 06:07 AM
    I DONT THINK THAT THE PLAYERS SHOULD BE ALOUD TO PLAY FOOTBALL, SOCCER, BASEBALL, ETC. WHEN THE TEMPERATURE IS SO HOT. FOOTBALL FOR HIGHSCHOOL STARTS TO EARLY IN THE SEASON ANYWAY. THEY WEAR HOT GEAR AND TO BE OUT IN THE SUN WITH THIS ON IS PRETTY BAD. TO THE ONE WHO TALKED ABOUT GOING TO ALASKA AND THEN TO IRAQ. YOU ARE A GROWN UP THESE ARE OUR CHILDREN, THAT GOD LET US BORROW. WE NEED TO TAKE CARE OF THEM. PROTECT THEM AND DONT JUST BLAME THE COACH BLAME US PARENTS ALSO FOR LETTING THIS GO ON. PACK YOURE CHILD A CARRY ALONG COOLER MAKE THEM HAVE A ICE PACK AROUND THERE NECK OR WHAT EVER IT TAKES. TAKE CARE OF THEM. MAKE SURE THAT THEY HAVE A GOOD PHYSICAL MAYBE THEY ARE ABLE TO PLAY BALL NOT A $20.00 CHECK UP A PHYSICAL .
  • by Bill on Jan 26, 2009 at 05:19 AM
    this is what you get. When the state begains chargeing people with crimes, that are not crimes.Just like murder for drunk drivers,and Mothers when a child wonders off. Theres no stopping point, and more and more people end up in jail,without a crime being commited. If anyone is charged it should be the parents,they let him play this useless sport.
  • by Kendal Location: Lexington on Jan 26, 2009 at 05:03 AM
    I agree Maggie...I do NOT think this coach should be charged. We expect SO much of coaches then we want to charge them for practicing the kids. I agree with him too, the parents are not the ONLY one who lost someone they care for. I do feel sorry for this coach...I think he was simply doing his job, the best he could do, and he should not be held liable...I mean the mere fact it happened is difficult enough for him. Listen to the 911 call the asst. coach, he KNOWS there is a problem, but he is NOT frantic on the call, he DOES NOT seem to think the kid was near death...I think they did the BEST they could considering the circumstances. I say the parents need to let this one go, and attempt to get on with their life. Thoughts and prayers to the family and everyone involved.

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