Daughter sues operator after mother dies on bus after outing

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A Tulsa, OK, senior living community is being sued by the daughter of a resident whose body was found on the community's bus on Aug. 28, the day after she went on an outing with fellow residents.

Brookdale Tulsa Midtown employees failed to notice that 84-year-old Mary Schlecht did not exit the bus with other residents after the Aug. 27 excursion, according to the complaint filed Tuesday by Schlecht's daughter, Linda Williams. Community employees realized that Schlecht was missing when they telephoned Williams to see whether Schlecht was with her, according to the lawsuit, which states that Schlecht subsequently was found dead in the bus' stairwell.

Williams alleges that employee John Hendricks* was allowed to drive the community's bus despite not having a commercial driver's license or the training required by regulations, that the community did not have medically trained staff members on the bus for residents who might need care and that the community did not train employees on how to account for residents with disabilities.

In addition to the community and Hendricks, the lawsuit names Brookdale Senior Living, Emeritus Corp. and outing planner Amanda Hollinger-Steward.

Reached Aug. 29, a Brookdale spokeswoman told McKnight's Senior Living that the community's leadership was supporting residents and employees in the wake of the tragedy and was working closely with local authorities. “We extend our deepest sympathy and condolences to our resident's family, as this loss is felt throughout our community,” she said.

On Wednesday after news of the lawsuit became public, the spokeswoman said that Brookdale executives had not seen the lawsuit and would not comment on a pending legal matter.

Williams is asking for actual and punitive damages.

* Update: The bus driver's name is Johnathan Patrick Kendrick, not John Hendricks as stated in the lawsuit.

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