Family and friends mourn boy who drowned
The 10-year-old was an altar boy at the church, where he was remembered.
By STEPHEN SIFF
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- Clouds blotted fierce sunlight pouring through the stained glass of Sts. Peter and Paul Church Thursday, three days after 10-year-old John Keytack drowned in a drainage ditch swollen by torrential rain.
Hundreds of friends and relatives prayed and took communion at young John's funeral before he was laid to rest in All Souls Cemetery in Bazetta.
John was an altar boy at Sts. Peter and Paul and an honor pupil at the church school a few dozen yards away. The pews were packed with other young men in suits and uncomfortable ties.
"Our brother John is saying farewell to everybody," said Monsignor Sylvester Hladky after pallbearers brought in the light blue coffin, just a little too small for an adult.
The son of John and Lory Ubaldo Keytack was playing with neighborhood friends not far from his house on Bonnie Brae Avenue N.E. when he became trapped in a whirlpool swirling around a storm drain set in the bottom of a 3-foot ditch.
He was unconscious when firefighters freed him from the drain grating and was pronounced dead at Trumbull Memorial Hospital.
"There is one consolation," the Rev. Mr. Hladky told those in attendance, many of whom seemed in shock.
The impact of the tragedy has been felt beyond the family and its circle of friends.
At the city council meeting Wednesday, members pondered how a death could take place under such innocent circumstances.
"I don't know why God was doing this," said Robert Holmes, D-4th, during council's opening prayer. "I don't know if God is trying to send the whole city a message."
Outside during the council meeting, the rain that pulled John to his death and flooded hundreds of homes continued, after a daylong break.
"Could it have been prevented?" Mayor Hank Angelo wondered aloud.
He didn't answer the question.
The city has at least 60 miles of ditches similar to the one in which John Keytack died, and that one didn't appear to be broken, he said.