Kyle Barnett Feb. 15, 2013, 3:08pm

GRETNA – The family of a teenage mental health patient who was killed when he was run over while fleeing a medical transport vehicle is suing a number of people and entities related to the incident.

Leslie Williams, Jarmirah Williams and Josiah Williams and the estate of Jeremiah Williams filed suit against the Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH), the State of Louisiana, Janine Sylve, Jane Doe, BJ’s Towing of St. Bernard LLC, Joseph Prince and an unknown ambulance company in the 24th Judicial District Court on Dec. 21.

The Williams claim Jeremiah Williams, who was an inpatient at Southeast Louisiana Hospital, was being transported in a DHH transportation van after a weekend visit to his family home in LaPlace.

The plaintiffs allege that the van’s driver, Janine Sylve, pulled over to the side of the interstate in Metairie and the unrestrained Jeremiah escaped from the van and ran across five lanes of the interstate allegedly fearing for his life.

According to the complaint, an ambulance that arrived in the scene turned off its lights and pulled next to Jeremiah as if to assault him at which point he was allegedly frightened into running back to the DHH van. While returning to the van, he was allegedly run over and killed by Joseph Prince, who was driving a tow truck for BJ’s Towing of St. Bernard.

Defendant DHH is accused of stopping a van on the interstate shoulder with an unrestrained passenger, failing to properly restrain the deceased, failing to take into account the safety of others, failing to safely transport the deceased, failing to protect the deceased from unreasonable risks and failing to properly supervise the work performed by employees.

Defendant BJ’s Towing of St. Bernard is accused of failing to see what should have been seen, failing to take into account the safety of others, failing to protect the deceased from unreasonable risks, failing to properly supervise employees, failing to yield and speeding and failing to drive slow and cautiously in the presence of emergency vehicles.

Defendant unknown ambulance company and their unknown driver are accused of approaching the deceased in a rapid intimidating manner, failing to block any lanes of traffic, failing to take into account the safety of others, failing to use a siren in addition to lights, failing to protect the deceased from unreasonable risks and scaring the deceased.

An unspecified amount in damages is sought for a slow and agonizing death and loss of love, affection and support.

The Williams are represented by Robert B. Evans of New Orleans firm Burgos & Evans LLC.

The case has been assigned to Division E Judge John J. Molaison Jr.

Case no. 722-378.

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State of Louisiana
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