The father of a Philadelphia area man with severe Autism is suing his caretaker for wrongful death. The caretaker left 20 year old Bryan Nevins in a van in sweltering heat last summer, leaving him to suffer and die of hyperthermia.
Caretaker Stacey Strauss of Woods Services, a Bucks County facility for people with disabilities, left Nevins in the back of the van on July 24, one of the hottest days of 2010. That day, Strauss was assigned to take Nevins and three other Woods Services clients to Sesame Place. The trip was cut short when Nevins misbehaved. Instead of simply disciplining Nevins by ending the Sesame Place trip, Strauss inexplicably left him in the back of the van alone even after returning with the other clients to Woods Services campus.
Other workers on the Middletown campus of Woods Services found Bryan Nevins dead in the van more than five hours later, possibly of wrongful death. Prosecutors contended that Strauss may have been distracted by a 44-minute phone call with her boyfriend as Nevin’s suffered and died in the van.
Bryan Nevins lived at Woods Services and was diagnosed with autism, mental retardation, and other conditions. According to reports he functioned at the level of a toddler, and his file at Woods said he was supposed to be within reach of a caretaker went outside his residence.
Strauss, 41, of Northeast Philadelphia, is currently serving a two to five year state prison sentence after pleading guilty in March to involuntary manslaughter, neglecting a care-dependent person, and recklessly endangering another person.
Nevin’s father is now suing Woods Services saying Woods never should have hired Strauss and that the organization failed to adequately supervise her or ensure proper care for Nevins. The wrongful death suit was been filed in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia by William Nevins of Oceanside, N.Y.