Man acquitted of all charges in death of senior home resident left overnight in van in winter
A manager at a Westmont senior-living residence has been acquitted of all charges of neglect related to the death of a woman forgotten on a wintry night in the facility's van.
DuPage County Judge Daniel Guerin ruled that Navdeep Dhall did not act recklessly when he did nothing after receiving a text at 10 p.m. on Feb. 2, 2021, from a Cordia Senior Residence employee. The message said Regina Adamik had not returned to Cordia Senior Living from an early-afternoon wound-care appointment.
"This all comes down to a legal issue of negligence vs. recklessness," Guerin said.
Dhall, of Bolingbrook, was indicted on four counts of criminal neglect of a resident by a long-term care facility for the death of the 96-year-old Adamik. She died of cold exposure.
Guerin had acquitted Dhall in October of the two most serious charges, which alleged that the neglect led to Adamik's death because prosecutors had not proven beyond a reasonable doubt at what time Adamik died.
On Friday, Guerin said the remaining charges required proof that Dhall acted recklessly -- defined in the law as consciously disregarding a substantial and unjustifiable risk of harm or death to an individual.
But Guerin said he could not find Dhall was reckless because Dhall was off work and at home when he received the text. There were other employees at the residence at that time who were responsible for the residents, including the nursing assistant who texted him.
Adamik's daughter had attended the wound-care appointment with her mother and followed the van back to Cordia. She was not allowed inside the building because of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.
Adamik called her son around 3:30 p.m., telling him she was in the van but did not know why or where. He believed she was confused due to having dementia and did not call Cordia.
Adamik's body was found in the van around 10 a.m. the next day.
Guerin did say he thought Dhall was negligent for not doing something, such as looking into the matter, when he got the text from the nursing assistant. So was Cordia, Guerin said, for not looking for Adamik that night.
"I have serious problems with the way Cordia operated," Guerin said.
The driver of the van was also charged with criminal neglect and awaits trial.
Adamik's family sued Cordia for wrongful death. They settled the case in April.