Johnston group home owner fined after boy hit, killed by car

sgilman@newsobserver.comApril 9, 2014 

Khalil Todd died outside The Lighthouse on March 10. The Lighthouse is now facing a $10,000 administrative penalty and suspension of admission.

COURTESY OF WILLIAM TONEY’S FUNERAL HOME IN ZEBULON

— The company that owns a group home where a 12-year-old resident was hit and killed by a car last month has been ordered by the state Department of Health and Human Services to pay a $10,000 fine and not admit any new residents until conditions at the home improve.

State inspectors found problems at The Lighthouse on Ranch Road after Khalil Todd, was hit by a car in front of the group home about 8:20 p.m. on March 10. The home is owned by KMG Holdings Inc.

A report from the Division of Health Service Regulation cites a lack of treatment plans for residents, failure to administer medications to one client, lack of continuous supervision and failure to maintain the facility “in a safe, clean, attractive and orderly manner.”

The Lighthouse will be barred from accepting new clients until the group home can fix the problems cited in the report. The three clients that remain at the home will not have to leave, said Kevin Howell, the department’s Legal Communications Coordinator.

Michael Graham, owner of KMG Holdings Inc., has 20 days to appeal the suspension. A call to The Lighthouse was not answered Wednesday evening.

The Lighthouse is a Level III group home, meaning it takes the most challenging cases of mentally impaired youth. Youth live there around the clock, and staff members attend to them on 8-hour shifts.

Khalil Todd came to The Lighthouse in January, after living at a different Lighthouse facility on Fort Drive.

Khalil was placed in The Lighthouse “due to anger issues, explosive behaviors, likes to run out of home and school, severe temper tantrums, hitting mother, property damage in the home and assault on staff,” according to the Health Service Regulation report. He had been diagnosed with major depressive disorder, oppositional defiant disorder and conduct disorder, according to the report.

On March 10, the report states, staff members sat with four clients at the dinner table about 7 p.m. and talked to them cleaning their rooms and making their beds before going on outings. One of the clients got up, swore and “walked out of the house and sat of the steps in the front,” the report states.

That client and Khalil then “ran back and forth out the house, climbing through the window in the front living room,” according to the report. Staff members told them to stay inside, but Khalil ran out of the house, picked up a big stick and threatened to break a staff member’s car windows.

The staff member told him several times to stop, according to the report. Khalil then ran down the hill away from the home and across the road. The staff member kept calling Khalil’s name but lost sight of him. The staff member returned to the home and told a second staff member to call the Johnston County Sheriff’s office and to tell the program director what had happened, according to the report.

Then, “Staff immediately ran back, called Todd again and noticed a car pulled up to the shoulder,” the report states. “The driver stated, ‘I think I hit something,’ and then he pointed to the ground and staff noticed Todd in the ditch.”

The staff member checked for vital signs and told the driver to call Emergency Medical Response. Paramedics arrived and pronounced Khalil dead.

Khalil was not the first to run away from The Lighthouse, according to the division report. Between April and October of 2011, law enforcement officers responded to 19 calls at The Lighthouse, and six of those were for clients running away. In 2013, kids ran away from The Lighthouse 10 times between May and August. At one point, all the clients ran away together.

In a July 2013 interview with the Division of Health Service Regulation, a staff member said he thought The Lighthouse did a good job keeping the kids in check.

“I feel we do a good job monitoring and supervising the clients in the facility,” the unidentified employee said. “We have some challenging behaviors, and the clients in the facility will mimic each other’s behaviors. If one client is acting out, it may trigger another client to act out.”

Gilman: 919-553-7234, ext. 104

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