close
Salt lake city

Lawsuit filed after autistic Utah boy died in tuned hot car

PROVO, Utah (AP) — A wrongful death lawsuit filed after an 11-year-old autistic boy was left in a hot car while under the care of a care facility in Utah has been settled. .

The lawsuit filed against Roost Services and some of its employees in April stemmed from the July 2021 death of Joshua “Joshee” Hancey, who was left in a car for nearly three hours in American Fork south of Salt Lake City as the temperatures reached the middle of the month. 90s, KSL-TV reported Sunday. Police Lt. Josh Christensen told reporters at the time that the car’s windows were up, the doors closed and the engine turned off.

Terms of the settlement have not been released.

David S. Bridge, attorney for one of the employees, declined to comment on the settlement out of respect for the parties to the lawsuit. Lawyers for Roost Services and two other employees did not respond to KSL’s requests for comment.

Peter Mifflin, the lawyer for the boy’s estate, said his clients hoped the trial would lead to improvements in care to prevent similar mistakes from happening again.

According to the lawsuit, Roost employees said they were understaffed and overworked at the time. A report filed by American Fork police also said a lack of communication led to the boy being left in the car, and police investigators recommended that the employee monitoring the boy be charged with homicide and obstruction of justice.

Utah County District Attorney David Leavitt declined to press charges, saying the death was unintentional.

Mifflin said he hopes Utah County will review the case with a new county prosecutor early next year.

“I still, to this day, find it interesting that in the current state environment of Utah, someone who leaves a dog in the back of a car is immediately charged with animal cruelty without frown, and that exactly the same conduct with regard to a human being is not charged at all. It still bothers me,” he said.

Mary Cashion

The author Mary Cashion