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Suit: Student loses eye after bottle explodes in class

Updated: November 10, 2011 12:08PM

A chemistry experiment went horribly wrong last week when a student at a southwest suburban high school lost vision in his left eye after a plastic bottle containing dry ice and water exploded, a suit filed Friday claims.

Kimberly Mantia claims that her 16-year-old son, Dillon, was in chemistry class on Tuesday at Harold L. Richards High School in Oak Lawn when the teacher attempted to perform a demonstration, according to the lawsuit filed in Cook County Circuit Court.

The teacher combined dry ice and water in a plastic water bottle and sealed it tightly with a cap, and then passed the bottle among the students so they could feel and observe the pressure building, the suit said.

But the plastic bottle exploded — causing severe and permanent bodily injuries to the boy’s face and hands, along with “irreparable loss” of sight in his left eye and loss of hearing, the suit said.

The suit claims the students were not given safety goggles even though the demonstration was “inherently dangerous” and involved a “highly volatile compound which threatened the safety and well being of ... all the students present in chemistry class.”

The three-count suit claims negligence, willful and wanton misconduct and vicarious liability. The suit seeks more than $150,000 in damages.

Spokesmen for the high school and Community High School District 218 could not be reached for comment Friday evening.

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