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Avondale man, 90, drowns in backyard pool

January 5, 2009

A 90-year-old Avondale man who enjoyed gardening and doing small tasks inside and outside his home drowned in his backyard pool Monday afternoon, police said.

Avondale police received a call just before 1 p.m. that a man, identified as Raymond Jiminez, had fallen into a pool in the 3200 block of 126th Avenue, said Sgt. Todd Love, a police spokesman. Paramedics administered CPR and chest compressions, "but to no avail . . . he appeared dead at the scene," Love said. Jiminez was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Love said it wasn't clear how Jiminez ended up in the pool but there were no signs of a struggle and police did not suspect foul play.

"At this point in the investigation, it appears it was purely accidental," he said. "With that water as cold as it is, he probably tightened up and it's just such a shock to the system that he didn't stand a chance."

Lucia Salguero, a next-door neighbor, said Jiminez was "very old" but nice, and that her husband often helped him take out his garbage.

"My husband took to him just because he's old and I guess he reminded him of his own father," she said. "I'm shocked that he fell into the pool, but I'm not surprised he was out doing things. He's busy, he's always out doing things . . . He was very active for an old man."

Catherine Wallace, who lives across the street from Jiminez, said she and her husband were good friends with Jiminez and his wife, and they were the best neighbors. She said Jiminez had just asked to borrow their saw the day before so he could cut down some trees, and that he was always outside doing something.

"You'll see him outside early in the morning in his (motorized) chair," she said. "He'd get up to go rake the garden, then go water the flowers, then he'd sit down when he was tired. And then he'd get up and go mess with the hose."

Wallace said she was shocked and saddened when she found out Jiminez drowned in the pool.

"He just came across the street yesterday and smoked a cigarette with my husband," she said. "(They were) the kind of neighbor you want to have, never to have to worry about them annoying you, and we always helped each other."

Reproduced with permission from:
The Arizona Republic
Jackee Coe
Copyright 2008 Arizona Republic

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