News: Caregiver Sentenced for Death of Long Island Client
(Long Island, N.Y.) A forty-one-year-old employee of the Woods Services facility for care-dependent residents was sentenced on Monday to 2-5 years in prison. A judged ruled her responsible for involuntary manslaughter in the death of twenty-year-old Oceanside native Bryan Nevins. Nevins was heavily autistic and was trapped inside a minivan amidst ninety-seven degree temperatures during the peak of last year’s summer.
The aide on duty and responsible for Nevins was on her cell phone during calls that amounted to three hours of her eight-hour shift (7am-3pm). Thirty-four calls were made in addition to seventy-one text messages; 87 out of 189 minutes were spent talking to her boyfriend. The most devastating aspect of this negligence was the forty-minute phone call made to her boyfriend during the critical hour that could have saved Nevins’ life.
Nevins was trapped in the back of the company’s maroon Kia Sedona minivan for four hours before nurses scheduled to give him his medication noticed he was missing. It took an hour of searching before they discovered his body; the estimated temperature inside the vehicle was between 125-130 degrees Fahrenheit. Medical personnel claim that it would have only taken between sixty and ninety minutes for death to occur.
Prior to his tragic death, Nevins was escorted to the water park at Sesame Place with two aides and three other residents of Woods Services. The driver of the minivan was the woman charged in the crimes against him. She made a phone call to Woods Services at 11:10am to inform them that she’d be returning early because Nevins had been biting and scratching; this, authorities say, was the only work-related phone call.
Before returning they stopped at a McDonald’s for lunch, during which the aide was gone for twelve minutes to use her cell phone. Woods Services claimed to have a strict policy against cell phones for personal use, and claimed that the aide was reprimanded three times in the past for using her phone for reasons other than work. The residents at Woods Services are often behaviorally challenged, disabled, and intellectually compromised and require extreme care; some, like Nevins, have the mental capacity of a two-year-old.
Nevins was able to walk but was not verbal, and required the attention of staff at all times. The aid charged in this case claims she had not been assigned responsibility for his care and that she made sure the van was empty upon returning. Witnesses at the facility disagree, saying she was clearly assigned to be responsible for Nevins; many question why Woods Services didn’t keep better records of who was assigned to each client.
Nevins’ father is a former New York City Detective once given high-profile cases such as the Wendy’s Massacre. Nevins was a triplet, and his brother was also a resident of Woods Services. Nevins’ father says he must relive his son’s tragedy daily when his surviving son, who has the mental capacity of a five year old, asks about his brother. Nevins’ sister, who is not autistic, planned on working with special needs individuals and providing her brothers with home care. She visited her brothers weekly and claims to have suffered from PTSD following Nevins’ death.
Nevins lived at the facility since he was fourteen. Woods Services made the news less than a year prior to Nevins’ tragedy when a seventeen-year-old resident from Long Island was killed after he fled grounds and fell/jumped from an overpass. Reports also surfaced last year about an employee selling cocaine from the company’s parking lot. Though the company has been cleared of wrongdoing following investigation, these events have caused Nassau and Suffolk Counties to pull their eleven other residents from the facility.