Dennett deaths claims filed in 2 cities, county

Survivors of a man who drowned in October near the Tuolumne River's Dennett Dam have filed claims against Modesto and Stanislaus County, an attorney said.

Leonard Goddard, 56, became the small dam's third victim in four years when he was "caught under the rush (of water) and drowned," the claim reads.

Elmon Cooper, 8, was killed at the dam in 2006 and Jeremy Wilson, 13, in 2007. Goddard died Oct. 22, 2009.

Their family members are represented by Joseph Carcione of Redwood City, who has pleaded for the dam's removal before the Modesto City Council and Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors.

The dam was built in 1933 near the Ninth Street Bridge to create a swimming hole. It was condemned in 1947 but never removed. Over the decades, state and federal officials have called for the dam to be demolished, and Modesto set aside $300,000 in 2007 but delayed the project because of budget cuts.

"I'm just amazed at the killing fields of Modesto," Carcione said Monday. He submitted similar claims to nearby Ceres and a joint powers authority managing the Tuolumne River Regional Park.

Claims can be precursors to lawsuits.