Suffolk nursing home resident wanders into traffic; passing driver makes sure she isn’t hit


SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A witness tells 10 On Your Side that on the night of March 27, a resident at Autumn Care of Suffolk got out of the facility and wandered out onto Pruden Boulevard, a busy four-lane road.

The city confirms that police and medics responded to that location that night.

A witness driving along Pruden Boulevard at the time says she saw what she thought was a traffic cone in the road. Instead, it was a woman. The person who was driving came up to the woman and saw she was lying perpendicular across the road. Her head was pointed toward Autumn Care, her feet toward woods on the other side of the road.

This witness stopped her car and made sure that other cars weren’t going to strike the woman. Fortunately, she did not get hit.

The witness, who does not want to be identified, said Autumn Care staff came out when they realized what had happened. A city spokeswoman says Suffolk police officers and Suffolk Fire & Rescue arrived at 8:19 p.m. that night. They determined the woman had fallen in the roadway and sustained a minor injury, and medics took her to Sentara Obici Hospital.

10 On Your Side tried to get more information from Autumn Care Staff, but none of the people walking through the lobby inside bothered to answer the door. A member of the staff came out to the parking lot but would not talk to us, either.

Yvonne Whitley’s father Franklin was a resident at Autumn Care last year when he died. She says she was shocked but not necessarily surprised when she heard about a resident wandering off and into traffic.

“I was very upset, I mean my heart just dropped,” Whitley said. After her father’s death, she formed a support group for people who feel the facility does not do enough to keep loved ones informed.

“I’d love to hear something good for a change, and I don’t understand how anybody could get out of that building,” she said.

Autumn Care’s parent company, Saber Healthcare Group of Cleveland, would not comment on the incident citing patient privacy rules.

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