Grandfather of toddler who fell out of cruise ship window sentenced

Oliver O’ConnellMon, 8 February 2021, 10:05 pm

<p></p> ((Eyewitness News ABC7NY))
((Eyewitness News ABC7NY))

The grandfather of a toddler who fell to her death from a cruise ship while he was looking after her has been sentenced to three years of probation.

Chloe Wiegand was just 18 months old when she fell to her death from an 11th story open window on a Royal Caribbean ship docked in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in July 2019.

Salvatore Anello of Valparaiso, Indiana, pleaded guilty to negligent homicide in February 2020.

Mr Anello had originally pleaded not guilty, but changed his plea to allow the family to move forward from the tragedy.

The terms of the plea deal allow Mr Anello to avoid serving time in jail and to remain in his home state.

Mr Anello, who is colourblind, previously released a statement in which he claimed that he did not know the tinted window of the children’s play area was open, and that he lifted Chloe up to the window so that she could knock on the glass like she did at her brother’s hockey games.

He said: “I wasn’t drinking and I wasn’t dangling her out of a window.”

Attorney Michael Winkleman said at the time Mr Anello, known as Sam, changed his plea: “This decision was an incredibly difficult one for Sam and the family, but because the plea agreement includes no jail time and no admission of facts, it was decided the plea deal is in the best interests of the family so that they can close this horrible chapter.”

He added that the family want to “turn their focus to mourning Chloe and fighting for cruise passenger safety by raising awareness about the need for all common carriers to adhere to window fall prevention laws designed to protect children from falling from windows”.

Chloe’s parents, Alan and Kimberly Wiegand, filed a multi-million dollar negligent lawsuit against Royal Caribbean in December 2019, in which they blamed the cruise ship company for failing to provide safety features on the windows, according to USA Today.

Mr Winkleman said the their discovery and evidence relating to the civil suit confirms that the death of Chloe was a tragic, preventable accident.