With temperatures rising above 90 degrees on Friday, two disabled adults had to be hospitalized after being left in a van for nearly three hours outside of an education and therapy center in Plymouth, an official at the company that runs the facility confirmed.
Michael Eddy, director of transportation for Habitation Associates Corporation, said the incident happened when a company driver transported the two individuals to its Plymouth day center, but did not take them out of the van and bring them into the building.
“It’s one of those things that I don’t really know how it happened,” Eddy said. “We’re trying to get to the bottom of what happened.”
Eddy said the individuals were left in the van some time around 10 a.m. and discovered around 1 p.m.
According to William Babcock, a spokesman for the National Weather Service in Taunton, temperatures in Plymouth reached 90 degrees at noon.
The two victims have since been released from Jordan Hospital in Plymouth and, according to Eddy, “seem to be doing well.”
Officials would not release any other details on the victims or their injuries.
Eddy said the driver has been suspended pending an internal investigation. He said he planned to meet with the driver on Friday night and on Monday.
“He was certainly very distraught,” Eddy said.
Officials at the facility realized the victims had been left in the van when one of the workers questioned their whereabouts, he said. He did not know if the van’s windows had been left open at all.
“There are certainly protocols and policies that are supposed to prevent things like this,” Eddy said.
The Habitation Associates official said that when drivers exit the van they are supposed to turn on a sign on the back of the vehicle that says “vehicle empty,” forcing the driver to walk around behind the van. It was not clear whether the driver did this.
Given that the two victims were the only ones being driven to the center at the time, Eddy referred to the situation as “odd.”
“It shouldn’t have happened, that’s for sure,” Eddy said.
An official at the Kingston Police Department, which responded to the scene, declined to comment, referring to the incident as “an ongoing investigation.”
Nicholas Jacques can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org