Juvenile escapes Summerville health facility through unlocked door

SUMMERVILLE, SC (WCSC) - A juvenile who escaped a Summerville health facility on Monday escaped through an unlocked door, according to the Palmetto Summerville Behavioral health facility.

A report states that the juvenile was able to run out a door that was having its locks replaced. The therapist notified police and followed the patient off campus for two blocks. Palmetto Summerville officials say that the patient voluntarily returned to the facility without incident or police involvement with the entire incident lasting less than 15 minutes.

The facility reports that the door the juvenile used to escape was due to ongoing construction related to security improvements to the doors and fencing through the facility. Facility officials say that the lock and door that the juvenile used was replaced on Monday.

The facility was recently investigated after numerous escapes in the past few months. The Summerville Police Department says staff at the Palmetto Summerville Behavioral Health Facility caught the juvenile a short time later after the patient jumped the fence Monday morning.

In July, the town's attorney says he found the facility to be in compliance with all zoning and business licensing.

At a recent Summerville Town Council meeting, members said they were worried about the safety of the community after several patients escaped from the Palmetto Summerville Behavioral Health Facility over the past few months. Mark Stokes, the town's attorney, said that there were no violations found during his recent visit.

At this time there is nothing the Town of Summerville can do to shut the facility down. The Department of Health and Environmental Control did find violations on its last visit and will hold a hearing in Columbia in September.

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