Man fired after accidentally leaving elderly woman, disabled person in van

ST. LOUIS - The state of Missouri is looking into an incident after a Facebook post ignited heated debate.

The post said an elderly woman and a disabled person were left in the heat, in a van, without air conditioning and the windows rolled up for 20 minutes. The two people are clients at St. Elizabeth’s Adult Day Care center.

One man has been fired as a result of the incident. A van used by the center was dropped off at a St. Louis auto repair shop for an oil change on Tuesday.

Apparently, the driver forgot there were two people still inside the van and left them.

“We just had a human error and someone made a grave mistake,” said Mark Balthasar, the owner of the repair shop.

Witnesses say the van was parked in the sun. A worker found them and turned on the air conditioning.

“The folks in the van were never overcome by heat. They weren’t even sweating in the van,” said Balthasar, who saw the two victims.

He said the two clients were in the van for a few minutes, not twenty minutes.

At St. Elizabeth’s, Sister John Antonio Miller said they’ve been trying to provide the best service to people for 37 years. Sister John says nothing like this has ever happened before.

The driver, who has been on the job for 17 years, has been fired. Sister John says the State Department of Health and Senior Services was notified and the state was on the premises Wednesday.

The owner of the repair shops says the center has been a customer for many years and thinks the sister and her fellow workers do a good job caring for those in need.

“I wouldn’t have a problem with her or her people taking care of my elderly person,” said Balthasar

Sister John said neither client needed medical attention and their families were notified. She said she’s terribly sorry it happened.