The 23-year-old New Canaan man charged in connection with the nonfatal drowning last month of a local boy at Chelsea Piers in Stamford pleaded not guilty Tuesday.
Zachary Stein, wearing a dark suit, light blue shirt and striped tie, stood by silently in state Superior Court in Stamford as his attorney, Stamford-based Mark Sherman, entered the plea before Judge John Blawie in an unusually packed courtroom.
A lifeguard at Chelsea Piers at the time of the Aug. 3 incident, Stein faces a felony charge of risk of injury to a minor as well as reckless endangerment.
In comments made following the arraignment, Sherman said his client is grateful for the support he has received from fellow lifeguards and first responders.
“Yes, despite the arrest, Zach continues to be immensely relieved that this child survived and is recovering,” Sherman said.
According to an arrest warrant application from Stamford Police, Stein while on lifeguard duty twice walked past the 4-foot deep end of a pool at Chelsea Piers where the 5-year-old boy had become submerged and lost consciousness without looking in that area. The boy was underwater for more than four minutes, but would regain consciousness while in the hospital within a few days.
Sherman declined to comment on the specifics of the arrest warrant, but said: “It’s always challenging when the criminal justice system intersects with first responders who are trying to do their best in difficult situations.”
News crews from a handful of nonlocal media organizations, including News 12 and ABC, were on hand for the arraignment.
Sherman added that he expected a “quick and fair resolution” in the case.