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March 19, 1999

Christopher Kominek hopped onto a plane looking forward to a weekend of baseball and a visit with his mother.

His trip ended tragically when the 26-year-old San Mateo, Calif., resident apparently drowned March 13 after passing out in a hot tub. The meeting with his mother, Constance Riordan of Phoenix, never occurred. The two were to meet the next day.

Riordan could not be reached for comment.

Kominek's father, Skip Kominek, of San Leandro, Calif., said his son had talked all week about his trip to the Valley.

"He was looking forward to seeing his mother, and he loved baseball," Skip Kominek said. "He was a big Giants fan."

Chris Kominek, a general manager of two California restaurants, and his friends booked a room with a hot tub at the Renaissance Cottonwoods Resort at 6160 N. Scottsdale Road.

While having dinner and drinks at a Scottsdale restaurant, Kominek and his friends struck up a friendship with some other people. Both groups left for the hotel about 2 a.m.

Hotel staff visited the room about 3:40 a.m. and asked the group to quiet down, police said.

Witnesses told police that different people spent time in the hot tub. Friends heard Kominek splashing in the water about 4:15 a.m. When they checked on him five minutes later, they found him face down in the water.

They pulled him out, started cardiopulmonary resuscitation and dialed 911.

Hospital officials at Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn pronounced Kominek dead at 5:16 a.m.

A preliminary report by the Medical Examiner's Office listed the death as accidental drowning.

Police Lt. Karl Emberg said hot tub accidents are more common than people think, especially when alcohol is involved.

"A great deal of alcohol does not mix with hot-water Jacuzzis," he said. "People get comfortable. Pass out or fall asleep and drown."

Skip Kominek said he has been comforted by many of Chris' friends, some of whom have flown to California after hearing of the tragedy.

"He had a lot of love. A lot of friends," his father said. "A zest for life."

Chris Kominek's longtime live-in girlfriend, Jennifer Dugan, is spending time with her parents. The two planned to marry in August.

"They already had everything arranged," Skip Kominek said. "They had been dating since high school. She's hurting very much."

Reproduced with permission from:
The Arizona Republic
Byline: By Monica Davis
©Copyright 1999 Arizona Republic

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