CHESTERFIELD (WRIC) - The 15-year-old boy who crashed a van on I-95 earlier this week is still recovering in the hospital. 8News spoke to his parents, who say their son has several mental and learning disabilities.
They asked to have their identities be concealed, but wanted to speak out to shed light on mental illness and the care these patients receive. They adopted the teen when he was just 3 years old and they're hoping others learn from their story.
"He is a verbal, but disabled kid. He's not 15. He's emotionally about 10. It's breaking everybody's heart. I am so sorry for the families and for the men that were injured, there's nothing we can do. But I am so sorry."
The boy's parents say they didn't find out until two hours later what had happened. He had found the keys to a white van parked outside his Grafton group home in Chesterfield. His parents say he was upset and left.
"It's a mental health issue; he's not a little criminal. It could have been a terrible disaster. Thank God nobody was killed. We feel terrible about everything, but Grafton knew him, they've known him for a long time."
His parent's say they've asked Grafton Integrated Health Network, the company who runs the group home, to make sure keys are locked up.
"They had him in a home that just wasn't right for him. He could walk out and he could do anything he wants and he did."
Grafton says they have launched an internal investigation saying "We are committed to providing safe, effective care for the 500 children and adults who are treated at our facilities throughout the region."
The boy's parents hope their story will shed light on what is a much bigger problem when it comes to mental health.
"He is a mental patient and he needs to be treated as that."
"It's very sad. We need more education and better places to put these kids, better placements and more educated people to work with these children."
The parents say that when the boy is released from the hospital, he will go into temporary psychiatric care, but after they aren't sure. At this point they say his future is unknown.
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Copyright 2014 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond