FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – An Anthony Wayne Services driver and caretaker is out of a job after leaving his developmentally disabled client in his van while the driver played basketball.
According to a police report obtained by Indiana’s NewsCenter, which can be read in the related links section of this story, Denzel Benson, now a former employee of AWS, parked his van at the St. Joe Place apartments on March 21 while he played basketball. Inside the van was 53-year-old Jerry White, who according to the police report, suffers from a number of disabilities including epilepsy, blindness, depression, brain atrophy, grand mal seizure and hypertension. White is also in a wheel chair and unable to communicate.
A resident at the apartment complex, who wished to remain anonymous, according to the report, told police he could hear a man screaming from inside the van. The resident told police that the car had been sitting in the parking lot for an extended period of time.
When police arrived on what they described in the report as an 83 degree day, they found the van with its engine on, music playing and the windows cracked about two inches. Police say White appeared calm when they arrived. When police found Benson and had Benson check on White’s condition, White was found to be calm with his pants down around his knees.
During the course of their investigation, Benson told police that White had been in the van for about an hour while he played basketball. Benson told police that “it was common practice to take clients out of the home so they could ‘get out.’”
In addition to Fort Wayne Police and a medic coming to the apartment complex to investigate and check on White’s condition, Benson’s supervisor arrived as well.
According to AWS, Benson was suspended immediately and AWS began its own investigation. A spokesperson with AWS tells Indiana’s NewsCenter that Benson committed “a huge violation of every policy we have,” when asked about Benson’s status. Anthony Wayne Services continued its investigation the following day and asked Benson to come to their facility to discuss the matter. Benson did not show and his employment was subsequently terminated.
Indiana’s NewsCenter placed multiple calls to the Allen County Prosecutor’s Office regarding any possible charges Benson might face and Indiana’s NewsCenter is awaiting a response from the office.
Anthony Wayne Services says they were saddened by the events of March 21 and pledge that they train and retrain their employees to provide optimal care for their clients.
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