On Sunday, June 10th, 65-year-old Thomas Charles “Colonel” Franklin was pronounced dead after falling into a creek in Charlottesville, Virginia. The circumstances leading to Franklin falling out of his wheelchair and into the creek remain a mystery.
Local investigators indicate that Franklin, a U.S. Army veteran, and resident of Ceder Healthcare Center, left the facility around noon on Sunday. During the severe thunderstorm, emergency services responded to a call around 5 pm at Cedars Court. The first responders performed CPR to revive Franklin but where unsuccessful. He was pronounced dead at University of Virginia Health System.
Charlottesville Fire Cheif, Andrew Baxter stated provided more information about the state of Franklin, “The subject was located eight minutes after 5 pm and found him to be in cardiac arrest.”
The spokesperson for the Cedars Healthcare Center, Fred Strattman indicated that the staff was upset by the tragic news of the beloved residents passing but believes that there was no negligence on their part. Residents leaving the facility is a common occurrence as long as it is cleared by their doctors. It is not abnormal for Franklin to leave the facility and return several hours later.
The company is launching an independent investigation to determine how this horrific accident occured. The facility is also doing an internal analysis to see how they can prevent this from happening in the future.
“Whether it was a deliberate act, an accident, or something of a more criminal nature, we just don’t know how the person got from their chair into the creek,” Strattman said.
Meanwhile, Franklin’s body will be transported to the medical examiner for an autopsy to determine the cause of death which might shed some more insight on to how Franklin ended up in the creek.
While the facility might not feel responsible for Franklin’s passing, it is not up to them to determine whether they were negligent or not. Franklin’s family has yet to indicate whether or not they will be filing charges against the facility until they learn more about how the untimely death’s occured.