Toddler flown to Denver after near-drowning

Emergency Medical Personnel from the Clifton Fire Department work to sustain breathing and a pulse on a two-year-old child Thursday after the child was found in a body of water at a home off Beverly Way in Clifton.

A 16-month-old boy was flown to a Denver hospital late Thursday afternoon after he was found face-down in a bucket of water at his parents’ Fruitvale home, authorities said.

Law-enforcement and medical personnel were called to 572 Beverly Lane around 4 p.m. after the boy’s uncle found him in a five-gallon bucket of water used as a water dish for the family’s dogs, Mesa County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Lisa McCammon said.

The toddler, who was initially reported to be unconscious and not breathing, regained a pulse and was breathing on his own after his uncle and an emergency-medical technician with the Clifton Fire Protection District performed CPR, according to McCammon and police radio reports.

The unidentified boy was taken to St. Mary’s Hospital, then flown to Children’s Hospital in Denver. McCammon said when the boy left St. Mary’s he was in critical condition.

Police radio reports indicated the boy was under water for no longer than four minutes. McCammon said she didn’t know how long he was under water or how much water was in the bucket, although she noted a child can drown in as little as 2 inches of water.

Neighbor Judy Umberger identified the boy’s parents as Josh and Tessa Miller, and Mesa County assessor records indicate Joshua L. Miller owns the house.

Umberger said the Millers were out of town on their honeymoon, and Tessa Miller’s mother was watching the boy and three other children who are Tessa Miller’s from a previous relationship. She said a number of adults live at the house.

Umberger said Tessa Miller’s sister told her the mother had gone inside the house to get a roll of toilet paper. When she came back outside a few minutes later, the toddler was face-down in the bucket.

Umberger’s husband, Choya, called the toddler a “pretty smart little kid” and said the two call each other “dude.”

“He’s my buddy,” Choya Umberger said.

After a pair of ambulances left the scene, Tessa Miller’s mother sat on a chair on the front porch with several deputies. At one point, she bent over with her elbows on her knees and held her head in her hands.

“I hate that this happened. It’s horrible,” Judy Umberger said. “Little, innocent kids that can’t take care of themselves.”


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