Family of teen who died on I-10 speaks out - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Family of teen who died on I-10 speaks out

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Family photo of Jeremiah Williams Family photo of Jeremiah Williams

New Orleans, La. - For Leslie Williams, the pain of losing her 13-year-old son is almost too much to bear.

"I just want closure," says Williams.

Closure for the family is finding out exactly what happened in the moments before Jeremiah died.

"We're in disbelief. We just can't believe it," says Veronica Acosta, Jeremiah's aunt.

Tuesday around noon, workers were transporting Jeremiah back to Southeast Louisiana Hospital where he was a patient receiving behavioral therapy.

Investigators say the driver pulled to the side of the road on I-10 near Cleary after some sort of altercation took place inside of the van. They say Jeremiah jumped out and ran across the Interstate.  He was struck by a tow truck and died.

Sara Holland is a trained nurse and also Jeremiah's aunt.  Holland believes policies and procedures were not followed and she says the workers failed to keep the teen safe.

"He had to have started to get aggravated at some point and they didn't do the de-escalation on him to calm him down. My nephew would have calmed down.  I have no doubt that he would have because I've used it and he always calmed down," says Holland.

The family says they've worried about Jeremiah's safety at the hospital since he checked in back in August.  Williams says just 24 hours after he arrived, she got a call that Jeremiah's ankle was broken.

"He had to get pins in it," says Williams.

"They told me that when he got there he was upset and the staff had to take him down. Well, I work with psych patients and you're trained not to harm them," says Holland.

They say they wanted to pull Jeremiah out of the hospital back then but he was making progress and there was nowhere else to go for help.

"Initially my nephew was at [New Orleans Adolescent Hospital] and when they closed that facility down, that forced us to get him help way in Mandeville," says Holland.

The family is desperate for answers.

The Department of Health and Hospitals says Southeast is routinely inspected and there is no record of repeat or ongoing problems at the facility.  As for the incident involving Williams' death, DHH is conducting an internal investigation.

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