Campground sued after NJ toddler’s deadly fall into septic tank
LOWER TOWNSHIP — The parents of a toddler who died after falling into a campground septic tank the night before Easter are suing, saying that the lid was unsecured.
Scott and Ashley Davidson, of the Delmont section of Maurice River, say in their lawsuit that their 3-year-old daughter's deadly slip was not the only time that septic tank lids at the facility were found to be left dangerously loose.
An unresponsive Emma Davidson was pulled from a sewage septic tank at Sun Outdoors Cape May around 9:30 p.m., according to the Cape May Prosecutor’s Office. She died shortly after at a local hospital.
Sun Outdoors Campground, in the Erma section of the township, is accused by the Davidson family of “a repeated pattern and practice of not securing” or locking down septic tank lids.
Other visitors had nearly fallen into such tanks at the same campground, according to the suit, while pets of visitors actually had actually fallen into unsecured tanks in the past.
Another camp property owned by Sun Outdoors in nearby Dennis Township, called Driftwood, also had an incident in which a person fell into a septic tank, the lawsuit also said.
The state Department of Environmental Protection also is listed as a defendant. According to the suit, the DEP did cite the campground for multiple violations for unsecured septic covers and for having some broken or cracked lids for their tanks, as well as failing to maintain inspection logs.
Sun Communities, based in Michigan, owns, operates or runs 560 properties across 39 states in the U.S. and Canada.
Its other subsidiary, Sun RV also is named in the lawsuit, as are Kampgrounds of America and Cape May KOA.
The property in Erma had been known as Cape May KOA until about March.
Request for comment from Sun Communities was not immediately answered on Tuesday afternoon.
The DEP directed questions to State Police on Tuesday evening, saying they were the "lead agency" on the matter.