Parents of Chesterfield Teen Who Stole and Crashed Van Speak Out

CHESTERFIELD (WRIC) – The
15-year-old boy who crashed a van on I-95 earlier this week is still recovering
in the hospital. 8News spoke to his parents, who say their son has several mental
and learning disabilities.

They asked to have their identities
be concealed, but wanted
to speak out to shed light on mental illness and the care these patients
receive. They adopted the teen when he was just 3 years old and they're hoping
others learn from their story.

“He is a verbal, but
disabled kid. He's not 15. He's emotionally about 10. It's breaking everybody's
heart. I am so sorry for the families and for the men that were injured,
there's nothing we can do. But I am so sorry.”

The boy's parents say they
didn't find out until two hours later what had happened. He had found the keys
to a white van parked outside his Grafton group home in Chesterfield. His
parents say he was upset and left.

“It's a mental health issue;
he's not a little criminal. It could have been a terrible disaster. Thank God
nobody was killed. We feel terrible about everything, but Grafton knew him,
they've known him for a long time.”

His parent's say they've
asked Grafton Integrated Health Network, the company who runs the group home,
to make sure keys are locked up.

“They had him in a home
that just wasn't right for him. He could walk out and he could do anything he
wants and he did.”

Grafton says they have
launched an internal investigation saying “We are committed to providing
safe, effective care for the 500 children and adults who are treated at our
facilities throughout the region.”

The boy's parents hope
their story will shed light on what is a much bigger problem when it comes to
mental health.

“He is a mental patient
and he needs to be treated as that.”

“It's very sad. We need
more education and better places to put these kids, better placements and more
educated people to work with these children.”

The parents say that when
the boy is released from the hospital, he will go into temporary psychiatric
care, but after they aren't sure. At this point they say his future is unknown.

For more information or to
any mental resources, click here.

 

Copyright 2014 by Young Broadcasting of
Richmond

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