Virginia State Senator Creigh Deeds may file lawsuit against the Rockbridge Area Community Services Board

05-19-14 Bath Deeds Lawsuit

By Bonnie Ralston

Virginia State Senator Creigh Deeds might sue the Rockbridge Area Community Services Board. According to an Associated Press article published in The News Leader of Staunton, Virginia, a notice of intent to sue was filed last week, although it’s reported that Senator Deeds has not  decided if he will move ahead with the lawsuit.  The notice states that negligence and gross negligence of Rockbridge Area Community Services Board employees are to blame for the events that led to the death of Deeds’ son, twenty four year old Gus Deeds.  Senator Deeds’ attorney says the notices were filed because Deeds is trying to understand what happened to his son.

Last November Gus Deeds was released, after being held under a six hour emergency custody order, because a bed in a psychiatric facility could not be found for him before that custody order expired.  The next morning, at the family’s home in Millboro, Gus Deeds stabbed his father multiple times and then took his own life.    

Earlier this year the Office of the State Inspector General issued a report on the events that led to Gus Deeds’ release from the psychiatric emergency custody order in Bath County.

According to that report, the evaluator from the Rockbridge Area Community Services Board provided a list of ten psychiatric facilities that were contacted while trying to locate a bed for Gus Deeds.  Phone records show that the evaluator contacted only seven of the facilities.  Two of the three facilities that were not contacted had beds available that day.  The report also said that those three facilities did not receive information via fax, even though the evaluator said information was faxed to them.  One of those facilities, which had an available bed, did not receive the fax because the evaluator had an incorrect fax number.  And clinically significant information provided by a family member of Gus Deeds was not included on the preadmission screening report prepared by the evaluator.     

The evaluator found that Gus Deeds met the criteria for more evaluation and temporary detention.  When the emergency custody order expired the evaluator requested that Gus stay until a bed could be found, but he refused. 

The notice of intent to sue was also delivered last week to the localities served by the Rockbridge Area Community Services Board:  Bath County, Rockbridge County, Buena Vista and Lexington.

Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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