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An evening in the backyard hot tub with drinks turned tragic for an Illinois husband and wife when he closed the lid on the tub while she was still in it.
Laura Huska, 57, died “by drowning by entrapment,” the Cook County medical examiner’s office ruled, according to the Chicago Tribune.
“It’s a tragic incident,” Todd Wolff, deputy chief of police in Wheeling, Illinois, a Chicago suburb, told the Tribune. “Alcohol and hot tubs don’t mix.”
Wolff told the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago that “for whatever reason,” Eric Huska, 58, “put the cover over her head.”
NBC reported that investigators who reviewed video from the home’s outdoor security system saw that “Laura had become ‘distressed’ when trying to get out of the hot tub” and that her husband “first tried to help her out of the water.”
But then, according to a police statement cited by NBC, he “partially closed the lid,” then left the scene.
His wife was still in the water.
Wolff told the media the lid was heavy and six to eight inches thick, the Tribune reported.
“She wasn’t in any condition to get out on her own, and she would’ve had to lift the lid to get out,” Wolff told CBS Chicago. “Initially he closed it down on top (of) her head – she couldn’t get out.”
He told the CBS station the incident happened between 4:30 and 6:30 p.m Saturday.
The video showed that Eric was gone for about 90 minutes, Wolff told the Herald.
It also showed, according to the Herald, that “the couple had been drinking in the hot tub for some time” and that Laura was “floating in the water” when her husband came back and opened the lid.
“She was transported to Glenbrook Hospital where she was pronounced dead,” CBS Chicago said.
Eric was charged Tuesday with involuntary manslaughter, according to the Daily Herald, which said he faces 3 to 14 years in prison if convicted.
“It’s a very tragic situation,” his attorney, Steven J. Weinberg, told the Tribune. “My client loved his wife and he’s heartbroken.”