Driver left to pay after mentally unstable man leaves center, causes $3K in property damage

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POWHATAN COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) – A Powhatan County resident is reeling after an unsupervised man walked away from a center for the mentally disabled and caused a violent roadside confrontation.

“I was completely scared for what might happen,” Jason Coleman recalled.

One morning in late October, Coleman was headed east on Route 60 on his way to work. He was passing Oakridge Business Park.

“I see this gentleman coming out of the woods and he picks up something,” he told 8News, adding that the car in front of him swerved to the left as if dodging something.

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“As I pass him, he throws this object right at the side of (my) truck,” he said.

A metal pipe came crashing through the passenger side window, cracking the windshield and scraping the side of Coleman’s truck.

The stranger struck three other moving vehicles with rocks, according to a police report. Joined by the others, Coleman pulled over to call police. As he dialed the 911 operator, he saw the man charging down route 60 toward Coleman’s car, a piece of the metal pipe in hand.

1e5254cfe9724edb9c6c6c2ba9b5032dPreparing for the worst, Coleman put his hand on his gun.

“I told the 911 operator I was armed,” he said. The man made it within 20 feet of the four parked vehicles. “We eventually got him on the ground. The cops showed up about a minute later.”

The police report shows that the man was supposed to be at Inner Visions Education Center on Standing Ridge Drive. The facility provides people with intellectual disabilities with job training and volunteer opportunities.

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“They just gave the generic, ‘well, our people were running late that day so he wandered off,’” Coleman said, adding that the facility’s management team has avoided his requests for help.

Now stuck with repair bills totaling $3,000, Coleman said he feels Inner Vision should be responsible for the cost of the damage incurred under the facility’s watch.

“If you’re in charge of these people that can’t do for themselves and just letting them run loose, it’s not good for them, for the community, or anybody,” Coleman said.

A state inspection dated January 7, 2016 cited the facility for failing to meet staffing ratio requirements. Inner Vision was also written up for omitting at-risk behavior on clients’ paperwork.

Because of his mental status, police said the man who caused the damage will not be charged.

Despite multiple attempts to get an explanation from Inner Vision Thursday, the facility has not returned our calls or emails.

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