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Coroner: Boy, 3, drowns in creek

May 22, 2011

Emergency responders and onlookers stand on the South Penn Street Bridge above Mahoning Creek, where three-year-old Joshua T. Parkinson of Irvona drowned Saturday, according to Jefferson County Coroner Bernard Snyder. (Photo by Larry McGuire/The Punxsutawney Spirit)

PUNXSUTAWNEY — Despite the valiant efforts of emergency responders, a three-year-old boy from Clearfield County lost his life Saturday after he fell into the Mahoning Creek near Elk Run.

According to Punxsutawney-based Pennsylvania State Police, it was reported that the victim, Joshua T. Parkinson, Irvona, was playing with other children around 3:30 p.m. Saturday at a home along Lane Avenue. A short time later, he was seen in the Mahoning Creek, at which point, police, fire and EMS were contacted, police said.

Police said that the boy was pulled from the creek near the South Penn Street Bridge by emergency responders from the Punxsutawney Fire Department. EMTs and paramedics from Jefferson County EMS performed CPR on Parkinson, who was taken to Punxsutawney Area Hospital, where medical personnel unsuccessfully attempted to revive him for more than an hour, police said

Coroner Bernard Snyder said he is 99 percent sure that Parkinson died due to drowning.

"I have that one percent doubt, so I ordered that an autopsy be performed," he said, noting that Parkinson was not in the water very long, possibly six to seven minutes.

Snyder said that according to police, there were three boys playing on a trampoline in the backyard at the Lane Avenue residence.

Parkinson apparently got tired of bouncing on the trampoline, departed and went over to a wall where the bridge used to be located, Snyder said.

"The other two children were still on the trampoline and saw Joshua go over the wall and into the creek," he said. "That's how the other children knew where he fell in, and went into the house and called 911."
Snyder said the part of Mahoning Creek into which Parkinson fell is deep, and that state and borough police investigators had planned to walk the creek Sunday from the point of where he fell in to where he was removed from the water just past the South Penn Street Bridge.

Borough Police requested the assistance of state police with the investigation, Snyder said. He said he hoped to have autopsy results no later than today.

Police were assisted at the scene by Jefferson County EMS and members of the Punxsutawney Fire Department.

Snyder said the funeral arrangements for Parkinson are through the Geibel Funeral Home in Butler, where his father lives.

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