The Washington Times-Herald

August 30, 2013

Illinois man wanders into Washington from Benton

By Nate Smith Times Herald
The Washington Times-Herald

---- — An Illinois man was taken to Daviess Community Hospital after wandering to Washington from Benton, Ill., and his future could be in question.

The Daviess County Sheriff’s Department received a call at 11:32 a.m. Wednesday from a female caller at 100 E. Todd Drive in Washington.

The caller, Tracy Scott, said the man seemed confused and did not know how he got to Washington. This was the second call dispatch had received on the man.

Scott said Thursday the man just drove up and knocked on the door. She was working outside at the time and while he asked for directions how to get back to Benton. She looked up where Benton was on her phone and realized it is far away. It is about 150 miles, or a two-hour drive, away from Washington.

“I asked what you were out doing and he said ‘Errands.’” Scott said.

Scott, who is a nurse, immediately recognized the man was suffering from some form of dementia. She told the man to wait and then called police while she was inside the house.

The confused man, who said he did not know how he got to Washington, waited outside while deputies arrived. An ambulance was called and the man was taken to Daviess Community Hospital while, according to dispatch logs, deputies tried to find more information on the man, who told Scott he was formerly an electrical engineer in Benton. The man’s white Toyota hatchback was still sitting at Scott’s home as of Thursday afternoon.

Deputies then called local police in Benton and the sheriff’s office in Franklin County. A Franklin County sheriff’s deputy said the man lives alone and has absentmindedness in spurts and gave contact information for a cousin.

Dispatch records said when the deputy contacted the cousin, the relative replied she “does not want anything to do with him anymore,” and gave the number of a sister that lives in Arkansas. The cousin also said the man has a daughter that lives in Los Angeles, but does not stay in contact with the man as well.

The information was given to Adult Protective Services for investigation while he is in the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit for a heart ailment. Rob Haseman, investigator for Adult Protective Services in Daviess and surrounding counties, said Thursday the hospital was trying to contact relatives while he is in their care.

Haseman said if there was no family member willing to take care of the man, the state may have to start court proceedings to ensure the man is cared for, but that will be after the man is discharged from the hospital.

The adult services investigator said while rare, cases like this are getting more attention due to “Silver Alerts,” where the public is made aware of missing seniors. Haseman said this is the first in this area in the four and a half years as an investigator.

“They can happen from time to time,” Haseman said.